Updated: Jun 8, 2021
It is a requirement within the Tax Administration Act, 2011 (“the TAA”) for all companies to appoint a Public Officer who will act as the Representative Taxpayer for the company and who will be responsible to ensure that the company is tax compliant.
A Public Officer, which is a natural person, must be appointed by a company within one month after it commences business or acquires an office in South Africa. The company must notify SARS within 21 business days of appointing such a person or where any future changes are made in such appointments. Failure to do so is an offense in terms of the TAA and may result in a fine and/or imprisonment in extreme circumstances.
Apart from a fine or imprisonment, where a taxpayer has failed to update its details, it will experience difficulties communicating with SARS as taxpayers are now required to confirm the details of the Representative Taxpayer reflected on its system together with documentary proof to substantiate (copy of ID etc.). This generally leads to frustration and delays as Taxpayers are required to first update the details of the current Public Officer with SARS before any issues can be resolved.
In addition, the official SARS Power of Attorney (“POA”), whereby taxpayers delegate authority to its staff members or tax practitioners to execute the company’s tax administrative affairs at SARS, requires the details and signature of the Representative Taxpayer. Where the details of the Representative Taxpayer on the POA differ from those on SARS’ system, SARS refuses to service the taxpayer or its tax practitioners until such time that the details are updated.
It is important to note that when updating the Public Officer’s details, SARS requires the resolution duly signed by all directors listed on the company registration document. As a result, the company should also ensure that its company registration documents at CIPC are also up to date.
Non-compliance with the above will result in delays when corresponding with SARS and may have major implications when a specific time frame such as submitting objections, appeals, or requesting further information from SARS applies.
We urge all taxpayers to ensure that the details of their Public Officer and/or Representative Taxpayer are up to date to avoid delay. Kindly contact Nico from VAT IT Local at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for assistance with updating all the required details.
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Article by: Nico Grobler
Senior VAT Manager