n Business Tax and Company Law Quarterly - Information-gathering by SARS under the TAA : trumping the taxpayer's right to tax finality - part II

Volume 7, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 2219-1585


The first part of this article, which appeared in the March 2016 issue of the , explored in depth the nature and extent of SARS's powers under the Tax Administration Act, No 28 of 2011 () to gather information from taxpayers in connection with their tax affairs, as well as the limitations imposed on the exercise of such powers. The article concluded that the breadth of SARS' powers under the TAA to gather information from taxpayers, requiring only a reasonable possibility that the requested information will prove relevant, opens the way to potential abuse of its powers by SARS, or at least to protracted delays in finalising a taxpayer's tax position.

Based on an analysis and interpretation of the relevant statutory provisions, it was accepted that SARS's information-gathering powers under the TAA in effect the taxpayer's right to tax finality. However, the article pleaded for a more efficient, expeditious and systematic approach to information-gathering by SARS, with the aim of minimising delays and promoting the genuine interests of taxpayers in their quest for tax finality, without prejudicing tax collection.
Part II of the article which appears in this issue of the contains a discussion of a range of specific problems that may well be encountered by taxpayers in relation to the exercise of its information-gathering powers by SARS. The article analyses how these issues are likely to be resolved in the light of the relevant provisions of the TAA and with reference to pertinent judicial decisions. This analysis indicates that, though the TAA may load the dice in favour of SARS, taxpayers are entitled to expect that SARS will perform its duties diligently and without unreasonable delay. It also shows that there are limits to the far-reaching powers conferred by the TAA.
Part II of the article reiterates the call for SARS to assist taxpayers in achieving tax finality by using its information-gathering powers under the TAA as efficiently and expeditiously as possible.

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