What is going on regarding the SARS administrative penalties?

What is going on regarding the SARS administrative penalties?

We have got to the point where we are reluctant to tell our clients about the SARS penalties because SARS themselves are being totally inconsistent. This is where we are at today 7 April 2019...

On 29 November last year, SARS sent out a notice to the effect that they planned to implement administrative penalties against all companies with outstanding tax returns, including dormant companies.

In early March 2019, we received about 400 emails and SMSs from SARS directed at clients stating that they had until March 29 to get their tax returns submitted in order to avoid penalties. These messages had the client's tax number on them so we were able to notify our clients and offer to submit their returns.

On 4th April we again received hundreds of emails and SMSs stating that penalties had "been imposed on your company", but they did not mention which company nor did they give a tax number. We phoned the help line that the message contained, only to have a recorded message state that, in order for them to help, we must enter the client's tax number and press the # key. Dead end!

I called SAICA, the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants, and they contacted SARS. We are waiting for an outcome.

In the meantime, we sent out a special newsletter to our mailing list of some 1 700 emails advising readers of events. We also sent a notification from our CRM system to all clients whom we knew had outstanding returns (mostly nils).

I have just had an email from a client advising that he has received several identical SMSs from SARS advising that they have imposed penalties on his "company". But which of several companies in the group lead to the apparent duplication of SMSs? I went through each of his companies on efiling and found that although they all had overdue tax returns, only one had been sent a final demand and had been assessed with monthly penalties (of R1 500), and by "sent", I mean that SARS had posted the final demand on efiling and somehow expected the client or us to know that it was there and go and read it!

What a mess! Oh, and by the way, despite the fact that the illustrious IT Chief Officer, Mmamathe Makhekhe-Mokhuane has been suspended, SARS has an announcement on the efiling home page to the effect that they are upgrading their IT systems to a new platform between 12th and 16th April.

So, how can you navigate through all this inconsistency and uncertainty?

The only reliable advice that I can offer is to submit your company's outstanding tax returns as soon as possible.

To assist all our clients, old and new, in resolving this issue as quickly as possible we have a special offer ending 28th April 2019.

Provided your company has not traded, we will submit all of your outstanding returns for just R750 per company. You can pay by card or EFT via our on-line store, or by EFT from your bank (see ABOUT US or click here for banking details). Just make sure that the reference is your full company name, registration number or tax number.

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