GUIDELINE FOR SARS TAX PRACTITIONERS
A tax practitioner is someone who completes SARS returns on behalf of third parties for reward/a fee. A person who completes their own tax returns or the tax returns of their employer is not required to register as a tax practitioner.
Current legislation: Summary
On 21 December 2012 President Zuma signed new requirements for all SARS tax practitioners into law.
The two key requirements are:
1. Tax practitioners must have at least an NQF Level 4 qualification; and
2. Must be registered with an authorised controlling body, which will administer, regulate, and manage the conduct of SARS tax practitioners.
REQUIREMENT 1: Minimum Level 4 qualification
Tax practitioners are required by law to hold at least an NQF Level 5 qualification, and must register them with SARS. ICB students who have completed the the National Diploma: Technical Financial Accounting NQF 5 or the National Diploma: Financial Accounting NQF 6 qualifications are eligible to register as a tax practitioner.
From the 1st July 2013 all tax practitioners had to update, and must continue updating, their academic qualifications with SARS. This can be done on e-Filing, along with any other details you need to update.
REQUIREMENT 2: Registration with a controlling body
SARS has appointed several professional bodies to control the registration of tax practitioners. The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers and Accountants (ICBA) has partnered with the South African Institute of Tax Professionals (SAIT) to facilitate the registration and administration of ICBA Tax Practitioners. ICBA registered members and/or ICB graduates can apply for SARS tax practitioner status through SAIT, if:
- You have successfully completed the National Diploma: Technical Financial Accounting NQF 5, or the National Diploma: Financial Accounting NQF 6 qualifications are eligible to register as a tax practitioner. and/or
- You are a registered, current and paid-up member of the ICBA, with the designation of Certified Technical Financial Accountant or Certified Financial Accountant and;
- You meet SAIT’s criteria (see main criteria below).
All existing SARS tax practitioners must have complied from 1 July 2013.
By law, all ICBA members and ICB graduates who wish to act or continue to act as tax practitioners must do the following to register with SARS:
- Apply to the ICBA’s membership department asking to be recognised as a SARS tax practitioner. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org. The ICBA will supply you with a letter of recommendation that you must submit to SAIT.
- Register with SAIT and comply with their registered tax practitioner requirements. These are specified by the Tax Administration Act, 2011 (as amended) and will be communicated to each applicant on a case-by-case basis. Requirements include years of experience, qualification level, etc., and you will need to:
- Confirm that you have no criminal record. At this stage, this is simply a question you answer on the SAIT application form; no proof is required yet.
- Provide SAIT with a valid tax clearance certificate or explanation for failing to get one. If you have a dispute with SARS, then you will need to provide an explanation as to why tax clearance will only be received after the dispute has been resolved.
- Complete SAIT's CPD Competency Assessment, if you obtained your ICB qualification before 2008. If you obtained your ICB qualification after 2008, you do not need to undergo any further assessment.
Approval is subject to you being an ICBA member of good standing, with your membership fees and SAIT fees both fully paid up. Remember, as a current ICBA member you will get a 50% discount on SAIT’s fees.
Once SAIT has approved your accreditation, they will provide you with an accreditation number. You must add this to your SARS e-Filing profile when you register as a tax practitioner with SARS, or when you update your details with them.
Approval of tax practitioner status by SAIT is subject to you meeting all the membership requirements of SAIT, and is at their sole discretion.
Are fees payable to the ICBA?
There is no fee payable to the ICBA for the granting of the Tax Practitioner Letter of recommendation, as long as you are a current paid-up member of the ICBA. Each year going forward, you will be required to pay your normal ICBA membership fees. If you are not a current member, you may need to pay additional fees to the ICBA to bring your membership up to date. The current ICBA membership fee for renewing qualified membership is R500.
Are fees payable to SAIT?
You will need to pay SAIT for registration as a tax practitioner. Their current fees start from R2,459.00 (incl VAT) but we have some good news! As long as your ICBA membership is up to date, we have negotiated a 50% discount with SAIT for you for their fee. You will need to produce the ICBA’s letter of recommendation in order to qualify for this, as well as your 2016 ICBA membership certificate. You will need to pay annual membership fees to retain your SAIT membership, and the ICBA membership fees to make use of the discount.
The ICBA welcomes these regulations as they help to promote professionalism and trust in our industry and get rid of rogue tax practitioners. We are committed to looking after the interests of our members and graduates. If you need any more information, please contact us.