Unlocking the New Era of Taxation: Changes and Challenges in Tax Season 2023

20 June 2023
Unlocking the New Era of Taxation: Changes and Challenges in Tax Season 2023
20 June 2023

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has recently announced the commencement of tax season 2023, set to begin on Friday, 7 July 2023. In preparation for the season, SARS has already made updates to its mobile filing platform and started populating taxpayer profiles with third-party data.

Auto assessments, which proved successful in handling tax returns for taxpayers with less complex affairs in previous years, are expected to be used again in 2023. The tax season typically lasts around four months for non-provisional taxpayers, ending in October, and extends further for provisional taxpayers, ending in January. However, SARS has yet to announce the closing dates for the season.

Taxpayers should be aware of various changes and new rules implemented for the upcoming tax season, particularly related to dispute resolution.

The new rules include an extension of time periods, amendments to the objection process, and updates to the appointment of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) facilitators. It is crucial for taxpayers to be informed about their rights and responsibilities when it comes to taxation. Seeking advice from a tax practitioner who stays up to date with tax law, policies, and procedures is essential.

Under the new rules, parties (taxpayers or SARS) can agree to shortened periods if the timelines for various procedures are not already regulated. The 2014 rules only allowed for extensions. In terms of objections against assessments, taxpayers must deliver a notice of objection within 80 days of the assessment date, a change from the 30-day period in the 2014 rules. If the taxpayer requested reasons, the notice must be delivered within 80 days of receiving the SARS notice or letter with the requested reasons.

Taxpayers may now appeal on new grounds not raised in the notice of objection, with some exceptions. When it comes to the appointment of an ADR facilitator, the facilitator must have appropriate tax experience and be acceptable to both parties. The facilitator must act independently and impartially, and their report must be delivered within specific timeframes.

SARS is now allowed to provide a statement explaining the assessment and the grounds for opposing an appeal. SARS can also add new grounds for disallowing an objection, as long as it does not fundamentally change the assessment basis or require a new assessment.

Additionally, the new rules permit the subpoenaing of witnesses to the Tax Board and Tax Court, who may be required to attend the appeal and provide evidence or documents relevant to the case. Parties can seek relief from the Tax Court if they believe a subpoena is irrelevant or unreasonable.

For more information and professional assistance on your returns – Contact Latita Africa and ensure your books are in a point of order.

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