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South African Tax Practitioners Face July 1 Deadline

by Lorys Charalambous, Tax-News.com, Cyprus

16 May 2013


Following a consultative process with professional associations in South Africa known to be active in the tax field, and the release of criteria and receipt of applications for recognition, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) has released a list of five "controlling bodies" to be recognized under the Tax Administration Act, 2011.

That Act has been amended to require tax practitioners to register with a recognized controlling body by July 1, 2013, in addition to the existing requirement that they register with SARS. This amendment is intended to provide a framework that will ensure that tax practitioners are appropriately qualified and that a mechanism is available, both to taxpayers and SARS, to address misconduct.

The associations to be recognized by SARS in terms of the Act are the Institute of Accounting and Commerce, the South African Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators, the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants, the South African Institute of Professional Accountants, and the South African Institute of Tax Practitioners.

A number of controlling bodies are automatically recognized in terms of the Act – the General Council of the Bar of South Africa, Bar Councils and Societies of Advocates; the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors; and the Law Societies.

The criteria for recognition by SARS has dealt with the legislative requirements that controlling bodies must maintain relevant and effective, such as minimum qualifications and education; code of conduct; disciplinary code and procedures; and continuous professional development.

SARS has said that it looks forward to working with the recognized controlling bodies to improve the service we offer to taxpayers and clients, and does not anticipate recognizing more controlling bodies in the near future.

It has now stressed that tax practitioners who are not yet registered with a recognized controlling body should review the entry requirements and service offerings of the recognized controlling bodies above to identify the most appropriate body to register with. Following registration, tax practitioners will be required to inform SARS of which recognized controlling body they are members, and the process to do this will be communicated shortly in order to meet the July 1 deadline.

The registration of tax practitioners with a recognized controlling body is the first phase of the regulation of tax practitioners in South Africa. The second phase involves the establishment of an independent regulatory board for tax practitioners, and will begin with a review of the success or otherwise of the first phase eighteen months after its implementation.

TAGS: individuals | South Africa | compliance | tax | tax compliance | law | tax authority | professionals | legislation | regulation | legislation amendments | Africa

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