Part 2: VAT Disputes – objections and appeals, why the battle?
Summarising the most important SARS news: VAT is 15%, the SARS Commissioner was suspended and SARS is still issuing assessments for who knows what reason. Which brings me to continue my explanations regarding the Dispute process and how to deal with the issues we face in practice.
In our first newsletter we dealt with “the Rules” and important points concerning assessments.
This time around, I want to focus on the objection process and specifically objection against an assessment raised.
7 things to know about objections
- You would draft an objection where you receive an assessment you don’t agree with. (You know, typically where inputs are merely reversed, zero rates are merely made into standard rates and other random transactions……)
- You must have SARS’ reasons for issuing the assessment
- You must file your objection within 30 working days of either the date the assessment is issued or the date the reasons for the assessment is issued.
- The grounds of objection, or reasons for your objection must be set out very clearly. An objection, really, starts a legal process, and you must pay attention to how it is set out. It cannot merely be a hurriedly scribbled document, for it may need to be carried on to appeal, where you then cannot add any new arguments.
- With the e-filing of an objection, you need to insert the relevant tax period and amount in dispute. Even if you don’t e-file an objection and submit it by hand (can you even do that anymore?) you must still address the tax period and amount in question.
- You can apply to SARS to extend the 30 day period (see note marked “remember” below)
- SARS must respond to your objection within 60 working days of receiving it. In addition, if they think they need more time, they can extend the 60 days by another 45 working days BUT they must let you know. As they are notoriously late in these things, you should make a note as to when the 60 (or 60 + 45) working days expire.
Remember: If you have to ask SARS for reasons, such reasons may arrive out of the 30 workings days of the date of assessment. Your time to deliver the objection starts from the date of the notice providing reasons. So, your objection will NOT be late! Don’t let SARS slap you with a notice of invalidity!
Notice of invalid objection – whaaaat?
Ever received one of these after you lodged an objection? And what did you do with it? So, here is how to react if you receive a notice of invalid objection:
- Don’t panic
- Look for SARS’ reasons. Yes, the notice must contain SARS’ reasons for saying why your objection is invalid.
- Check the date: this notice must be issued within 30 working days of SARS receiving your objection – if you submit an objection and don’t hear anything from SARS within, say, 6 months, then suddenly receive a notice of invalidity, it is, well, invalid. Invalid to you, as SARS didn’t issue it within the time frame (we’ll tell you at the VAT Masterclass how to deal with this!)
- Amend your objection and resubmit it to SARS within 20 working days of the date of the notice.
Small print regarding objection times and documents: (sort of T’s & C’s)
- SARS can ask you, within 30 days of receiving your objection, to provide documents.
- You then have another 30 days to do so, or ask for an additional 20 days
What if you’ve stuck to the above rules and still SARS has not dealt with your objection?
Our resident Tax advocate will be answering these questions and showing you the procedures at the upcoming VAT Masterclass! We are bringing the VAT Masterclass to Bloemfontein and Jhb in May, so if you’re struggling with disputes you can’t afford to miss out on the VAT ! (and its 12 CPD points)
VAT Masterclass Bloemfontein 24 and 25 May 2018
VAT Masterclass Johannesburg 6 and 7 June 2018