The South African Revenue Services is encouraging people to move away from paper and eFile. File photo: INLSA

Durban - Acting South African Revenue Service commissioner Mark Kingon said being at the service of taxpayers is one of Sars objectives this tax season.

Sars launched its Service Charter - which outlines taxpayers’ rights and responsibilities as well as service standards they can expect from the agency -  this month coinciding with the start of tax season 2018.

Kingon said the Service Charter followed a series of engagement with tax practitioner bodies as well as the Tax Ombud and other key stakeholders

"Our Service Charter outlines our service commitments and turn-around times, with regard to our engagement with the taxpayer, processes such as registration applications, returns and declarations, audits, refunds and payments, as well as dispute resolution processes. Besides the commitments that we make, it also sets out the taxpayer’s legislative rights and obligations,"he said.

Here are some of your rights and obligations:

SARS will:
Help you by providing
• Courteous and professional service at all times
• Clear, accurate and helpful responses
• Instructions that are clear and concise on the actions you need to take and by when
• Access to SARS via eFiling, the SARS Contact Centre, SARS branches and Mobile Tax Units
• Self-explanatory leaflets and booklets on the SARS website and in branches

Be fair to you by
• Expecting you to pay only what is due under law
• Treating everyone equally
• Ensuring everyone pays their fair share
• Informing you if and when prescribed timeframes cannot be met

Respect your constitutional rights and privacy by
• Keeping your tax affairs strictly confidential
• Furnishing you with reasons for decisions taken regarding your tax and customs affairs
• Applying the law consistently and impartially If you are not satisfied, you may
• Exercise your right to request reasons for decisions and outcomes regarding your personal tax affairs
• Exercise your right to object and appeal against an assessment or qualifying decision
• Lodge an administrative complaint via eFiling, at a SARS branch or via the SARS

Contact Centre
• After having exhausted all administrative complaints processes within SARS, lodge a complaint with the Office of the Tax Ombud
Your Obligations
In return, your obligations are to
• Be honest
• Submit full and accurate information on time
• Comply with all prescribed administrative processes and timeframes
• Pay your tax and/or duties on time and in full, using the correct payment reference number(s)

SARS Service Charter 3

If you call our SARS Contact Centre we will endeavour to:
• Answer your call within 4 minutes during our peak seasons.
• Answer your call within 1 minute during our off-peak seasons.
• Call you within 2 business days, where additional specialist support is required.
If you visit a SARS branch or mobile tax unit we will endeavour to:
• Serve you within 3 hours during our peak seasons.
• Serve you within 1 hour during our off-peak seasons.
• Contact you within 5 business days, where additional specialist support is required.
When using the eFiling channel we will endeavour to:
• Make SARS eFiling available 24 hours a day.
• Afford businesses paying VAT, until the last business day of the month to pay. Manual filers must pay by the 25th of each month or where the 25th falls on a weekend or public holiday, the business day prior to the 25th.
• Communicate with you via SMS or email to remind you of submission deadlines.
• Process your requests quicker than if you had visited a SARS branch.
If you correspond with SARS we will endeavour to:
• Respond to a Tax, Customs or Excise query within 21 business days of receipt thereof.
• Encourage others to pay their tax and/or duties on time and in full
• Not encourage or be party to any corrupt activity or fraud in any form
• Ensure that SARS has your correct personal information and payment details
• Take responsibility for your tax affairs, even if you have authorised someone to act on your behalf.
• Show our staff respect just as they are expected to respect you. If someone else acts on your behalf, we expect the same respect from them.

Click here to read the full Service Charter