The third draft of the long awaited Tax Administration Bill “TAB” was recently published for a final round of public comment. The TAB is an initiative to incorporate certain generic administrative provisions, which are currently duplicated in the different tax acts, into one piece of legislation. Since the TAB is now nearing the final stages of the legislative process, every taxpayer requires a basic knowledge of its implications.
Know your new identity
The TAB provides for a single registration system whereby taxpayers will register for all tax types by means of a single registration form. For example, an enterprise will no longer have to register separately for income tax and value-added tax. The South African Revenue Services “SARS” may, however, allocate various reference numbers to one taxpayer to differentiate between various tax matters. Should the taxpayer correspond with SARS without mentioning the allocated reference number, SARS may disregard such correspondence.In most instances, registration must take place within 21 business days from becoming liable or entitled to register under a tax act. “Business days” now also excludes days from 16 December to 15 January each year. Do not be surprised if SARS asks you to wink at them while you register, as “biometric information” may now be used to authenticate the identity of an individual. This includes any biological data, such as retina, voice, facial or fingerprint recognition. SARS is, however, obliged to put measures in place to secure the confidentiality and protection of such personal data. In line with the single registration system, a single taxpayer accounting system will also be introduced. Taxpayers will have one tax account with a rolling balance of all outstanding taxes. Payment allocation rules may be applied in respect of a specific tax type and SARS may recover taxes by applying the first-in-first-out rule. This could give rise to some interesting issues where the amounts of certain taxes are in dispute and others are not.