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THE TAX OMBUD

 

The office of the Tax Ombud provides you with a fair and simple way to seek a resolution for a service, procedure or administrative dispute you have already unsuccessfully tried to resolve through SARS. The Office of the Tax Ombud is independent of SARS.  

 

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WHEN TO COMPLAIN AND​
WHAT TO EXPECT

 

The Tax Ombud may only review the request if the requester has exhausted the available complaints resolution mechanisms in SARS, unless there are compelling circumstances for not doing so.

You should first seek to resolve a dispute directly with SARS at your SARS branch or, if dissatisfied with the outcome, escalate the matter to SARS Complaint Management Office (CMO). If still unresolved, you may submit your complaint to the Office of the Tax Ombud.

If the complaint falls within our mandate, we will do everything possible to find a solution to your complaint. We strive to resolve complaints within 15 business days of accepting them, and will let you know if the complaint cannot be resolved within this period.
 
 
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LATEST NEWS

FAIRNESS FOR ALL: CASE NINE

This case describes how SARS delayed payment of a refund to a taxpayer, even after it had allowed an objection to the assessment raised, by repeatedly paying the refund and then recalling it immediately from the taxpayer’s bank account. Click the link below to read the full newsletter or find it on our Publications Page.

 

MEDIA RELEASE: TAX OMBUD CELEBRATES 8 YEARS OF FAIRNESS BY INTENSIFYING TAXPAYER RIGHTS AWARENESS

The Office of the Tax Ombud’s (OTO) eighth anniversary celebration today, 1 October, coincides with the launch of its 2021 educational campaign to intensify awareness about taxpayer rights and promote tax compliance during the current tax season of the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

 

FAIRNESS FOR ALL: CASE EIGHT

We are in the middle of the tax season, with taxpayers filing their tax returns and some experiencing challenges with the revenue collector. One of these challenges involves SARS taking money from taxpayers’ bank accounts through a process called Third Party Appointment (TPA). In many instances, this process is done correctly, but there are also times when SARS takes money without following proper procedures or takes more than the law permits. This case, in which the Office of the Tax Ombud intervened, involves SARS issuing a TPA for an amount far above the amount that the taxpayer owed. Click the link below to read the full newsletter or find it on our Publications Page.

 

TAX OMBUD ANNUAL REPORT 2020/21

The Tax Ombud's Annual Report 2020/21 has been tabled in Parliament.

 

FAIR PLAY ISSUE 21

Welcome to the 21st issue of our newsletter, themed The Right to Know About Your Tax Matters. This issue comes at a crucial time, during the SARS tax season, when many individuals and businesses file tax returns. We have a selection of insightful articles dealing with various tax-related matters, including taxpayers’ right to appeal and have tax complaints finalised within a reasonable time. The newsletter also includes two opinion pieces from external contributors giving their insights on Taxpayer education is crucial in building an effective tax culture and Home-office expenses: during the times of the pandemic and post-pandemic. Click the link below to read the full newsletter or find it on our Publications Page.

 

FAIRNESS FOR ALL: CASE SEVEN

The Tax Season is upon us, and as per tradition, the OTO expects an influx of complaints from taxpayers. Some of the issues might seem small but have serious financial implications for taxpayers. The case below involves SARS delaying finalising the verification of a VAT period which subsequently led to a delay in the verification and finalisation of a tax refund. This tax case details a complaint that saw the OTO’s intervention to secure the payment of over R3 million in tax refunds.

 

FAIRNESS FOR ALL: CASE SIX

The Office of the Tax Ombud is committed to helping improve the country’s tax administration system by, among others, protecting taxpayers' rights. But there are instances where the actions of tax complainants are questionable, and the Tax Ombud would rule in favour of the South African Revenue Service or reject a tax complaint outright. Remember, the Tax Ombud is neither for SARS nor for taxpayers but looks at available facts and makes impartial decisions.

 

FAIR PLAY ISSUE 20

Welcome to the latest edition of Fair Play, the OTOs stakeholder newsletter. In this edition, we consider how taxpayers can, and should, take charge of their tax affairs. Click the link below to read the full newsletter or find it on our Publications Page.

 

FAIRNESS FOR ALL: CASE FIVE

In this issue we feature a critical intervention by the Office of the Tax Ombud that earned the Office a testimonial from a taxpayer. The intervention led to SARS paying the taxpayer R86 573.64 in VAT refunds, inclusive of interest. The OTO reiterates that while it will do everything possible to protect taxpayers’ rights, it is always impartial and will examine the facts before reaching a fair decision, regardless of whom it favours.

 

FAIRNESS FOR ALL: CASE FOUR

In this issue we discuss a critical intervention by the Office of the Tax Ombud that led to SARS refunding close to R196 000.00 to a taxpayer after the money was unfairly taken from its bankaccounts. The Tax Ombud Judge Bernard Ngoepe always reiterates the importance of tax compliance andthe rights of taxpayers to be treated fairly by SARS and to pay only what is due, not a cent less or more. The case below is testimony to the success of a critical intervention by the OTO to protect the rights of a taxpayer and secure the return of funds wrongly deducted from its bank accounts.

 

FAIR PLAY ISSUE 19

Welcome to the nineteenth edition of Fair Play, the OTOs stakeholder newsletter. In this edition, we look at taxpayers' rights, and the balance of power between SARS and taxpayers. Click the link below to read the full newsletter or find it on our Publications Page.

 

OFFICE OF THE TAX OMBUD ANNUAL PERFORMANCE PLAN 2021/22

The Tax Ombud Annual Performance Plan (APP) 2022 -22 has been tabled in Parliament.

 

FAIRNESS FOR ALL: CASE THREE

In the November edition of Fairness for All, we discussed a case where the Office of the Tax Ombud (OTO) highlighted SARS’s conduct in withholding refunds for periods not under verification or audit. In that case, SARS only instituted an audit when its action was challenged by the OTO. This delayed response was seen as an attempt to legitimise its disregard for the legal provisions of the Tax Administration Act (TAA). The refunds involved in this matter exceeded R70 million.
Since then, a similar matter, with refunds worth approximately R1.6 billion, was argued in the Johannesburg High Court and presided over by Judge Yacoob.

 

MEDIA RELEASE: CALL TO UTILIZE FREE AND IMPARTIAL SERVICES OF THE TAX OMBUD

As a result of the huge demands on the Fiscal because of the COVID-19 virus pandemic, we have possibly entered a period during which tax collection dynamics are going to change, in particular between the taxpayer and the revenue collector, SARS. Understandably so, a lot of money is going to be needed. Delayed payment of tax refunds and failure to adhere to set timelines for attending to objections and appeals are just some of the problems taxpayers sometimes encounter when dealing with the South African Revenue Service (SARS). The Office of the Tax Ombud (OTO) is ready to help resolve such issues.

 

MEDIA RELEASE: OTO SECURES OVER R116 MILLION FOR TOP 10 TAX REFUNDS

Over R116 million in tax refunds has been paid back to taxpayers through the intervention of the Office of the Tax Ombud (OTO). This amount is only for the top 10 tax refunds paid to taxpayers who had laid complaints against the South African Revenue Service (SARS), Tax Ombud Judge Bernard Makgabo Ngoepe revealed at the launch of his 2019/20 Annual Report today, 2 December 2020.

 

TAX OMBUD ANNUAL REPORT 2019/20 - SEVEN YEARS OF FAIRNESS

The launch of the Tax Ombud’s 2019/20 Annual Report was held live on Radio 702 today (2 December) with Tax Ombud Judge Bernard Makgabo Ngoepe saying "“We are pleased that as per our tradition for the past six years, we can once again unpack the report and have a constructive discussion on its content and our performance against set targets. This is despite the ongoing COVID-19 challenges and lockdown restrictions, which necessitated a media launch instead of our traditional face-to-face engagement."

 

FAIRNESS FOR ALL: CASE TWO

Welcome to the second issue of Fairness for All, the Office of the Tax Ombud’s informative monthly newsletter featuring important case studies. The current issue features a crucial case, which saw highly questionable actions by the South African Revenue Service, several contraventions of tax legislation, and a possible abuse of power. The intervention of the OTO resulted in over R73 million in refunds, as well as R6 million in interest payment by SARS.​ 

 

MEDIA STATEMENT: SEVEN YEARS OF ENSURING FAIRNESS

Today, 1 October, marks seven years since the inception of the Office of the Tax Ombud (OTO) – a period that has seen the Office not only make a significant impact in promoting awareness about the rights of taxpayers, but also in the protection of those rights.

 

FAIR PLAY ISSUE 17

Welcome to our anniversary edition of Fair Play, the OTOs stakeholder newsletter. In this edition, we celebrate seven years of fairness, and of pursuing excellence in serving taxpayers and improving our country’s tax administration system. Click the link below to read the full newsletter or find it on our Publications Page.

 

MEDIA STATEMENT: TAXPAYERS' RIGHTS MATTER

The Office of the Tax Ombud (OTO) is redoubling its efforts to create awareness about its services and protect the rights of taxpayers this filing season, with the launch of an informative digital awareness campaign #TaxpayersRightsMatter.

 

FAIRNESS FOR ALL: CASE ONE

Welcome to the first issue of Fairness for All, the Office of the Tax Ombud’s informative monthly newsletter, featuring important case studies.

 

OTO AT THE TAX INDABA ONLINE

The Office of the Tax Ombud continues to be a leading and influential voice in the tax sphere and will once again feature prominently in the upcoming “Tax Indaba Online” with both CEO Prof Thabo Legwaila (Taxpayers rights matters) and Snr Manager Legal Gert van Heerden (PwC Tax Controversy & Dispute Resolution Survey 2020) presenting on the three day event scheduled for 7 – 9 September. For more information visit www.taxindaba.co.za.

 

FAIR PLAY ISSUE 16

Welcome to the sixteenth issue of the Office of the Tax Ombud’s stakeholder newsletter, Fair Play, a vibrant and informative newsletter which aims to keep stakeholders abreast of important matters affecting the Office and developments in the tax recourse sphere. Click the link below to read the full newsletter or find it on our Publications Page.

 

MEDIA STATEMENT: TAX OMBUD RELEASES FINDINGS OF HIS SECOND SYSTEMIC INVESTIGATION

long-awaited report on the investigation on systemic issues conducted against the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

 

FAIR PLAY ISSUE 15

Welcome to the fifteenth issue of the Office of the Tax Ombud’s stakeholder newsletter, Fair Play, a vibrant and informative newsletter which aims to keep stakeholders abreast of important matters affecting the Office and developments in the tax recourse sphere. Click the link below to read the full newsletter or find it on our Publications Page.

 

OTO APP 2020/21 AND STRATEGIC PLAN 2020-25 TABLED IN PARLIAMENT

The Office of the Tax Ombud Strategic Plan 2020 - 2025 and Annual Performance Plan 2020/21 have been tabled in Parliament.

 

MEDIA STATEMENT: OTO SUSPENDS WALK-INS TO THE OFFICE

The Office of the Tax Ombud has suspended walk-ins at its office until further notice in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

 

MEDIA STATEMENT: TAX OMBUD ANNOUNCES PROF. THABO LEGWAILA AS THE NEW CEO

The Tax Ombud, Judge Bernard Ngoepe, is pleased to announce the appointment of Prof. Thabo Legwaila as the new Chief Executive Officer of the Office of the Tax Ombud (OTO). Prof. Legwaila will assume the role of Chief Executive Officer at the Office of the Tax Ombud effective 1 April 2020. His appointment follows the departure of Advocate Eric Mkhawane last year.

 

TAXPAYERS SUPPORT CALL FOR AN INDEPENDENT TAX OMBUD

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FAIR PLAY ISSUE 14

Welcome to the fourteenth issue of the Office of the Tax Ombud’s stakeholder newsletter, Fair Play, a vibrant and informative newsletter which aims to keep stakeholders abreast of important matters affecting the Office and developments in the tax recourse sphere. Click the link below to read the full newsletter or find it on our Publications Page.

 

TAX OMBUD ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 - SIX YEARS OF BRIDGING THE GAP OF FAIRNESS AND TAXPAYER RIGHTS

The Tax Ombud Annual Report 2018/19 has been tabled in Parliament and provides detailed activities and performance of the Office of the Tax Ombud (OTO), as well as Judge Ngoepe’s overview of the institutions Six Years of Bridging the Gap of Fairness and Taxpayer Rights since its establishment on 1 October 2013. Click the link below to access the full report.

 

MEDIA STATEMENT: 6 YEARS OF BRIDGING THE GAP – JUDGE NGOEPE UNPACKS HIS 2018/19 ANNUAL REPORT

The launch of the Tax Ombud’s 2018/19 Annual Report was held at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business Breakwater Campus today (3 October 2019). The Tax Ombud, Judge Bernard Makgabo Ngoepe, told taxpayers, tax practitioners and the academic fraternity who attended the launch, themed Six Years of Bridging the Gap of Fairness and Taxpayer Rights, that his Office continued to make a significant impact on the country’s tax administration system. He added that the OTO’s independent and impartial interventions have made a huge contribution towards ensuring that tax was collected in as fair a manner as possible.

 

FAIR PLAY ISSUE 13 - SIX YEARS OF BRIDGING THE GAP OF FAIRNESS AND TAXPAYER RIGHTS

Welcome to the 13th and Special Edition of Fair Play newsletter commemorating Six Years of Bridging the Gap of Fairness and Taxpayer Rights Click the link below to read the full newsletter or find it on our Publications Page.

 

MINISTER OF FINANCE EXTENDS THE TERM OF TAX OMBUD JUDGE NGOEPE

Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni has extended the term of office of the Tax Ombud Judge Bernard Makgabo Ngoepe for three years, commencing 1 October 2019. Judge Ngoepe became the country’s first Tax Ombud when he was appointed by the then Minister of Finance, in October 2013.

 

INVITATION: TAX OMBUD 2018/19 ANNUAL REPORT LAUNCH

Celebrating 6 years of bridging the gap of fairness and taxpayers’ rights
Join the Tax Ombud, Judge Bernard Makgabo Ngoepe in conversation with tax experts, academia and taxpayer

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