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 5 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. ICB graduates can apply for SARS tax practitioner status through SAIT, if:
  1. 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. 
  2. You meet SAIT’s criteria (see main criteria below). 

All existing SARS tax practitioners must have complied from 1 July 2013.
By law, all ICB graduates who wish to act or continue to act as tax practitioners must do the following to register with SARS: 
  • 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 SAIT's entry requirements.

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 SAIT? 
You will need to pay SAIT for registration as a tax practitioner and pay annual membership fees to retain your SAIT membership.