How to dispute SARS penalties

Last Updated on September 21, 2023 by ufiling

Disputing SARS (South African Revenue Service) penalties involves a specific process that taxpayers can follow if they believe the penalties have been incorrectly applied or are unjustified. Here’s a general guide on how to dispute SARS penalties:

  1. Understand the Penalty: Familiarize yourself with the details of the penalty, including the reason for its imposition, the specific tax law or regulation it relates to, and the amount you have been charged. This will help you in preparing your case.
  2. Gather Relevant Documentation: Collect all relevant documents related to the tax return or transaction in question. This may include tax returns, financial statements, invoices, receipts, or any other supporting evidence that can help support your case.
  3. Review SARS Guidelines: Consult SARS guidelines, tax legislation, and relevant tax rulings to determine whether the penalty has been correctly applied. Understanding the specific regulations and requirements can help you identify any errors or discrepancies.
  4. Contact SARS: Initiate contact with SARS to raise your concern and dispute the penalties. You can do this by sending a written letter or email to the SARS branch that issued the penalty. Clearly explain the reasons why you believe the penalties should be reconsidered or waived. Include any supporting documents that can substantiate your claim.
  5. Escalate to the Dispute Resolution Unit (DRU): If your initial contact with SARS does not result in a satisfactory resolution, you can escalate the matter to SARS’s Dispute Resolution Unit (DRU). The DRU is responsible for handling disputes between taxpayers and SARS. Submit a formal objection in writing, explaining your position and providing all necessary supporting documentation.
  6. Attend Mediation or Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR): Depending on the complexity and amount involved, SARS may suggest mediation or ADR as an alternative means of resolving the dispute. This involves a neutral third party facilitating discussions between you and SARS to reach a resolution. Consider participating in these processes to find a mutually agreeable outcome.
  7. Appeal to the Tax Board or Tax Court: If the dispute remains unresolved after engaging with SARS and exhausting all available avenues of resolution, you may have the option to appeal the decision to the Tax Board or Tax Court. Consult with a tax professional or seek legal advice to understand the specific procedures and requirements for filing an appeal.
  8. Seek Professional Assistance: If you find the dispute process complex or challenging to navigate, consider consulting with a tax professional, such as a tax attorney or tax consultant, who can provide expert advice and representation. They can guide you through the dispute resolution process and present your case effectively.

Remember, the specific steps and procedures may vary based on your individual circumstances, so it’s important to consult with a tax professional and familiarize yourself with the relevant laws and regulations in South Africa.

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