Who May File a Tax Return?

Posted by Bernard Schoeman on 05 April 2018.



Bernard Schoeman

CA(SA), Post Graduate Diploma Accounting, BCom

The Tax Shop Head Office

More about Bernard Schoeman

Bernard studied BCom majoring in information systems and accounting at the University of Cape Town and qualified as a Chartered Accountant (SA) in 1997 after completing of his articles with Deloitte & Touche. Bernard has extensive international and local experience having worked for nearly three years with financial institutions in the UK (London) and having audited numerous companies listed on the JSE in South Africa. He is a member of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants.
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The Tax Administration Act  now requires tax practitioners to register with a recognised controlling body and with SARS. This means that only the following parties may legally submit a tax return:

  • The taxpayer
  • A registered tax practitioner

While many individuals still make use of people (other than the above) to submit their tax returns, such reliance may prove extremely detrimental to the taxpayer should something go wrong.  It is our advice that, unless the taxpayer is 100% confident in submitting their tax return themselves, they should make use of a registered tax practitioner only for submission of their tax returns.

Requirements for Registered Tax Practitioners

Tax practitioners need to be registered with a SARS approved controlling body before applying for a SARS tax practitioner number.  The purpose of the controlling body is to confirm that the practitioner is suitably qualified to file tax returns. They also ensure that the practitioner participates in ongoing professional development in order to keep up to date with tax legislation.  Currently, a tax practitioner has to be a member of one of the following controlling bodies according to SARS:
  • Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
  • Chartered Secretaries Southern Africa (CSSA)
  • Financial Planning Institute (FPI)
  • Institute of Accounting and Commerce (IAC)
  • SA Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA)
  • SA Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA)
  • SA Institute of Tax Practitioners (SAIT)
  • The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
  • Association of Accounting Technicians Southern Africa (AAT(SA))
The following controlling bodies were automatically recognised in terms of the Act:
  • Law Society of South Africa
  • General Council of the Bar of South Africa, Bar Councils and Societies of Advocates referred to in Section 7 of the Admission of Advocates Act, 1964
  • Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA)

Apart from any legal requirement to use a registered tax practitioner to submit your tax return, there are also numerous other benefits such as:

  • Having the peace of mind in knowing that a tax professional has submitted your tax return.  This includes ensuring that you receive the maximum tax benefits.
  • Tax practitioners can deal with SARS a lot easier than general members of public.  This includes making enquiries and appointments with SARS.

SARS have created a facility on their website for you to check the validity of your tax practitioner – you can do so here.