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Tax complaints – Who to turn to

The role of the Tax Ombud (OTO) is to review taxpayers’ complaints against SARS and help resolve them through mediation or conciliation. OTO’s CEO, Prof Thabo Legwaila, recently reiterated the importance of fairness in tax collection and the independent role his office plays in the resolution of taxpayers’ complaints against SARS when he launched its digital awareness campaign termed #TaxpayersRightsMatter about its services this filing season, with the overarching objective of protecting the rights of taxpayers.

In a recent interview, Moneyweb asked Legwaila to clarify whether taxpayers should first exhaust all internal remedies provided by SARS before the OTO can be approached, because taxpayers who do not know how to do this have no one to turn to. According to Legwaila these taxpayers can ask the OTO for assistance as they will not turn a taxpayer away.

“We understand the economic challenges faced by individual taxpayers and businesses, and we are here to ensure that tax compliance is not an additional problem or drawback for taxpayers. Taxpayers should continue to be treated fairly and justly to ease their compliance burden. Tax collection is under pressure, but it should continue to be carried out in an administratively fair manner, with correct and legislated procedures followed, and the service provided in interactions with taxpayers by SARS should not deserve reprehension. We urge and support tax compliance, and the objective of the OTO is to ensure that taxpayers’ rights are not trampled on by the revenue collector,” he stresses.

Taxpayers can contact the Office of the Tax Ombud on 0800 662 837 or complaints@taxombud.gov.za, or visit its website for more information about when and how to lodge a complaint.

Click here to read the Moneyweb article.

Click here to download a case study that illustrates the outcome of a tax complaint.

Related article: Common errors with tax returns – SARS taking a tough stance on submissions.

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