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SARS announces emergency measures during Covid-19 lockdown

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SA Revenue Services (Sars) has announced alternative processes during the Covid-19 lockdown period so that taxpayers and accountants are able to engage with the tax agency.

In a statement issued on 25 March 2020, Commissioner Edward Kieswetter said all contact with Sars should be conducted using its online channels.

Here is the text of the statement: As you are aware, we are entering an unprecedented period in our history as a young democracy. It is a time in which we need to show social solidarity by taking care of ourselves and all South Africans. The President of South Africa Mr Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a nationwide lockdown with effect from midnight on Thursday 26 March 2020 in view of the escalating COVID-19 pandemic. Taking into account the devastating economic impact of this pandemic, the President also announced a number of measures to help tax compliant companies in distress and their affected employees, especially Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs). To give effect to the President’s lockdown instructions and to minimise face-to-face contact, I wish to inform you that SARS has taken a decision to ensure that alternative processes are in place so that you can engage with SARS.  These include: 

1. Online services

 If you need to interact with SARS, please use our online channels such as eFiling, the SARS MobiApp and e@syFile. The following are available on eFiling:

  • Enquiry about debt outstanding and make a payment
  • Enquiry about returns outstanding
  • Tax Compliance Status (Application for TCS)
  • Notice of Registration (IT150)
  • Filing your Tax Returns
  • Update personal details (including Bank Details)
  • Request Statement of Account
  • Register for Income Tax
  • Submission of Supporting Documents for an audit case
  • Lodge a Dispute
  • Tax Product Registration
  • Tax Directive Management
  • Lodge a complaint
  • Username Retrieval and Password Reset

2. SARS Contact Centre

SARS will have staff available at the SARS Contact Centre and you can engage with them on 0800 00 7277. The following services are available at the SARS Contact Centre:

  • Enquiry about on debt outstanding
  • Enquiry about on returns outstanding
  • Tax Compliance Status
  • Filing your Tax Returns
  • Request Statement of Account
  • How to Submit supporting documents for an audit case
  • Lodge a complaint
  • Username Retrieval and Password Reset
  • Request for advice

3. E Mail Facilities

We recognise that not all services are available through the online channels and via the SARS Contact Centre and we have therefore provided the following dedicated e-mail channels for you to engage with SARS:

General Mail:

Debt-Related Matters

Specific Topics

4. Appointments

Should any of these channels not be able to deal with your specific issue and if you still want to consult a SARS agent, you can, in exceptional circumstances, book an appointment at a SARS branch. Go to the SARS website to make the appointment.  You are reminded of the lockdown restrictions that are in place when you are travelling to a SARS branch.

5. Escalations

Where all processes have failed in resolving your specific tax matter, the following escalation steps are in place:

  • The Complaints process available to eFilers and at the SARS Contact Centre.
  • The Office of the Commissioner on OOC@sars.gov.za. Please ensure you have utilized all other channels before engaging with the Office of the Commissioner.
  • The Tax Ombud is available on www.taxombud.gov.za
  • Tax Practitioners are urged to engage through their Recognised Controlling Bodies on systemic escalations. A separate communication is being addressed to the RCBs.

I appeal to you to remain compliant by fulfilling your tax, customs and excise obligations even during this lockdown. If we all act collectively, our country will be better placed to deal with a similar crisis in future.


Sincerely,

Edward Chr Kieswetter

SARS Commissioner

25 March 2020