Last week we featured an article entitled, Tax Season 2018: Changes At SARS – What Do You Think? This article highlighted some of the changes brought about by SARS designed to assist (or hamper) practitioners during this year’s busy season.
AccountingWeekly also asked readers to participate in a busy season survey. To encourage more practitioners to participate in our survey, we are sharing some of our early feedback.
In response to the question, “How does this Busy Season compare to LAST YEAR’s?”, the following was noted:
Some 35% of the respondents indicated that compared to last year, this busy season is much worse and 29% indicated it was somewhat worse than last year. About 29% of the respondents indicated they had the same experience as last year and a small percentage (6%) indicated the experience was somewhat better.
It appears however that a larger percentage of practitioners had a poor experience with SARS. Some of the reasons cited were:
According to one respondent:
“SARS is simply not complying with their own Charter, i.e. the so-called 21 working days to do verifications after submission of supporting documents.
“They are requesting supporting documents for ridiculous declarations, such as the sale of a Unit Trust in the amount of R108 with a base cost of R114, therefore resulting in a loss of R6.00. This is absolutely true and not a fabrication on my part.
“Very few of their requests for supporting documents are item specific. In most cases they still require ALL documents. Payments to clients are being delayed beyond reasonable times.
“The call centre, I am sorry to say, is worse than I have experienced in many years. They simply are unable in most cases to offer any assistance and their knowledge of tax affairs minimal. etc. etc.”
Other respondents noted:
“Verifications are still taking longer than 21 days and refunds are delayed.”
“With SARS moving deadlines, there is less time to do everything and more stress with staff & clients.”
“They aren’t keeping to their turn around times, at least 9 out of 10 taxpayers are reviewed. If you request an escalation you have a 100% chance of receiving an additional assessment with no reason why expenses have been disallowed.”
“I have never seen so many taxpayers at SARS offices. One client needed to verify details and gave up waiting on 3 occasions. Even practitioner appointments were running late, and that never happens.”
“SARS are diabolical, every return submitted has been subjected to verification, and then amounts written back (particularly medical expenditure) that have no legitimate justification. Due process is not followed by SARS and the interpretation by SARS is unjust and outside of the income tax act. Too much time has to be spent arguing points with SARS.”
AccountingWeekly wants to know if you’ve had similar experiences. Let us know by participating in our survey.
In response to the question, “What have been your CHIEF CONCERNS about Busy Season this year?”, responses are shown below:
‘SARS Operations’ appears to be at the top of the list of concerns for almost 65% of respondents while pricing and fee pressures account for some 35% of their concerns.
Late and unprepared clients accounted for about 29% of respondent concerns and the general economic situation prevailing in the country was next on the list at 23,5%.
None of the respondents appear to have staffing issues as the response was a resounding 0%. Is this possible?
Would your organisation respond any differently? If so, please follow the link to complete the AccountingWeekly survey.
In response to the question, “What are the KEY ECONOMIC FACTORS you’re concerned about?” The following comments were collated:
“Increasing general costs/inflation; increased VAT; lack of investment; lack of viable infrastructure; continuing fraud and corruption; waste of resources; underfunding of resources, etc.”
“Higher tax rates, unregistered businesses not paying taxes and the rest of us having to carry the burden, economic downturn”
“LACK OF JOB CREATION AND POOR EXCHANGE RATE”
“Petrol price increases, poor exchange rate, general negative feeling towards the economy and SARS/ government”
“Lack of business confidence and increased cost of living (vat, petrol, food) reducing spending, which has a snowball effect on all sectors.”
It would appear that many businesses are concerned about the economic situation in general and have a somewhat negative view of Sars and government.
AccountingWeekly would like to hear from more of our practitioners dealing with SARS on a daily basis. Take some time out and let us have your feedback. We will use the combined feedback to lobby Sars to deliver better service in future.