The impossibility of registering for VAT

Pity you, the poor business owner who decides to voluntarily register his company for VAT. Here are the latest obstacles that you'll have to overcome -

You've heard somewhere that you can now register on-line. This was anounced with great fanfare about a year or so ago. Right, so you go on-line and yes, there's an application form called a RAV01. You dutifully fill it in, but wait, the date first liable is critical as all transactions from that date are deemed to include VAT. So, make sure you get that right. So what next? You now have to take all of the supporting documents to SARS and sit for anything up to four hours before someone examines your documents and tells you what you didn't get right. Of course, you can (in theory) make an appointment at SARS, which should cut the waiting time, but you won't get a reply to your appointment request, so don't even bother.

Oh, I didn't mention that SARS has now made it so much easier to qualify for voluntary registration. Now, you only need to prove an average of R4 200 turnover per month from the date first liable. Great, so off you go with your invoices and bank statements and all the other paraphernalia that they insist on.

Your application gets rejected because if you elect the R4200 average option, you must tick the box that says you will submit monthly VAT returns. Off you go and fill in another RAV01 on-line (you can't use the same one, because that job has been closed by SARS) and tick the right box. Back to your friendly SARS office and another four hour wait.

Your application gets rejected again, this time because if you elect the R4200 average option, you must also tick the box that says you will account on the cash basis and not the invoice basis. So, off you go again and fill in another RAV01 on-line  and tick the right box. Back to your friendly SARS office and another wait of four hours.

Now, here's where you might get lucky, they maybe won't find any other reason to reject your application.

Incidentally, we have a client who has been able to prove about R180 000 turnover in the last year, so, having proved over R50 000 turnover, did not have to elect the R4200 average option. Guess what? Our application was rejected, because there was not an average of R4200 during the last two months! I spoke to the SARS official on my driver's cell phone and asked her to call her supervisor as she was mixing the requirements of two different options. She refused and we didn't get our VAT number. We tried again at Alberton with the same result. I then went personally to Edenvale ready for a fight. They accepted the invoices without comment. The mind, she boggles!


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