By Ciaran Ryan and Ludzula Mukhuwana

The South African Institute of Business Accountants (Saiba) has received recognition as a Recognised Control Body (RCB) from the South African Revenue Services (Sars), which means Saiba members can now become Licensed Tax Practitioners without having to register with any other professional body.

After more than three years of applications and efforts, Sars Commissioner Edward Kieswetter sent a letter to notify Saiba of this status.

Sars Commissioner Edward Kieswetter notified Saiba this week that it was now a Recognised Controlling Body

Saiba CEO Nicolaas van Wyk pointed out that this was a major milestone for Saiba members as it created an additional license and revenue opportunity for members to pursue. “It means Saiba members can become tax practitioners without having to register with another professional body, and it means new business opportunities for members who chose to become Licensed Tax Practitioners under the Saiba banner.”

The RCB status means that Saiba members will be able to directly register with Saiba to obtain their tax practitioner status.

Saiba, as the professional body, will be responsible for ensuring that members seeking to follow this route are competent and able to provide high-quality services, that they are accountable for the work they perform, are committed to tax CPD, and are aware of their role and responsibilities to clients and society.

Many members hold dual membership of Saiba and Sait (South African Institute of Tax Professionals). Now that Saiba is an RCB, the need for dual membership falls away, though Saiba will continue to recognise both memberships.

Designated Saiba members (those with BA(SA), CBA(SA) and BAP(SA)) that also provide tax services to clients can apply to Saiba to become a Licensed Tax Practitioner and pay an additional license fee to obtain tax support services powered by Sait.

Existing dual members: If you are already a member of both Saiba and Sait there will be no change and you will continue with dual membership. You do not have to follow the licensed route.

The new licensing route provides the same status and authority to provide tax services to clients as the following professional designations:

  • General Tax Practitioner (GTP) with Sait.
  • Professional Tax Practitioner (PTP) with SAIPA.
  • Chartered Accountant (SA) with SAICA.

Application process

Sars sets additional obligations and duties for tax practitioners and Saiba’s duty as an RCB is to ensure that members meet this standard.

Starting from July 2021, members will be able to upgrade their designation status with a Saiba specialised tax license. Only Saiba license holders will be eligible to be registered with Sars as tax practitioners.

In terms of the criteria set by Sars, Saiba can license those with BA(SA), BAP(SA), CBA(SA) and CFO(SA) with three new specialist tax licenses:

  • Tax Compiler License
  • Tax Advisor License
  • Tax Master License

More information on the application criteria will be available by July 2021 and will be shared with Saiba members.

Addressing Saiba members, Van Wyk said this was a milestone achievement for Saiba: “We are proud to celebrate this milestone with you. It’s your dedication to hard work, your commitment to continuous learning and the quality of your work that has helped us gain the reputation needed to attain this status.”

The news of the RCB recognition was enthusiastically received by Saiba members who are part of the regional WhatsApp groups. Becoming a Licensed Tax Practitioner is now a viable and vital career development path for accountants who are designated Saiba members, and opens up new revenue streams for those who plan to pursue this route.

Learning outcomes

After completing this license, Saiba members with designations will be able to:

  • Identify the appropriate standards applicable in providing tax services
  • Promote their uniform application within a tax firm.
  • Understanding of members responsibilities when performing tax services.
  • Foster increased public compliance with and confidence in our tax system through awareness of good standards of tax practice.
  • Enhance the business accountant professional designations.

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