Right Tax Practitioner

1. Are you a registered tax practitioner?

Every person who gets paid to file tax returns on behalf of others or gives tax advice has to be registered with SARS as a tax practitioner. For your reference, our Practitioner number is PR-0027641.

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He/she also has to be registered with an approved controlling body, like the South African Institute of Tax Professionals or the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants.

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2. What is your tax experience?

Many practitioners list their qualifications after their names. To most people that means very little as they don't know what these stand for. A couple of years of experience often counts a lot more than a fancy degree with very little experience. Where the tax practitioner gained his/her experience is important as well. Someone working at an accounting firm will in most cases gain more experience filing tax returns than someone working at a bank, for example.

Rest assured, your tax affairs are in safe hands with TaxAssist. I have been in the Financial Planning and Income Tax field for 20 years.



3. Have you ever dealt with my particular situation?

Every tax return is different. If you have a basic return with only an IRP5, for example, then any tax practitioner worth his/her salt will be able to file it easily. If you have investments or earn rental income from a property you own then your tax return does become a bit more complicated.
It is best to make sure upfront that the tax practitioner has experience dealing with something similar. Even if you only have a travel allowance or medical aid expenses, you should still ask the tax practitioner if he/she has ever dealt with it before.

At TaxAssist, we have dealt with a diverse array of tax situations and are confident that we can help you.3.      

4. What documents will you require from me?

This is a good question to ask to avoid going back and forth. That only delays the filing of your return and possibly your tax refund as well. All the best professionals will ask you to complete a questionnaire or ask some questions in person to understand your unique tax situation. Once the tax practitioner understands your situation, he/she can request all the documents needed from you. If your tax practitioner tells you he/she does not need anything from you to file your taxes, alarm bells should be ringing.

At TaxAssist, we require you to complete a worksheet, either online or offline, which can be found on the Process page. Furthermore, like all tax practitioners, we require you to sign a power of attorney form (also available in the Process section) that allows us to act on your behalf with SARS.

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5. How do you calculate your fees?

Rather than asking what the tax practitioner's fees are, ask how he/she calculates the fees. Most professionals base their fees on the complexity of your tax return and the time it takes to prepare and file it. If you earn income from a trade, business or rental property, you should expect to pay a little bit more than others. If your tax practitioner calculates his/her fee on a percentage of the tax refund that he/she can get you, don't walk, but run in the opposite direction. SARS does not like this one bit, so it is best to avoid anyone who tells you the fee is based on the size of your tax refund. SARS argues that this encourages practitioners to lie and claim back more money than is actually due.

At TaxAssist, we charge a basic tax return fee of R300 (R330 from 1 July 2016) and an advanced tax return fee of R500 (R550 from 1 July 2016). Fees related to other types of returns and correspondence are listed above under Services.

6. Will you file my return electronically?

All the best tax professionals file their clients' returns electronically, either using SARS e-filing or specialised tax software. You would want your return to be filed electronically for two important reasons: 

  • The time SARS takes to process an electronically filed tax return is much quicker, which means that if you are due for a refund, you will get your money much quicker.
  • The chance of making a mistake on an electronically submitted return is much smaller than with a manually completed and filed tax return.

TaxAssist files returns exclusively on SARS eFiling.



7. What if I get audited?

If a tax practitioner files your return and you then get audited, he/she should ideally handle the audit on your behalf as well. In most cases, it will just be a matter of submitting the supporting documents to SARS, which he/she will already have anyway. If the practitioner filed your tax return for you, he/she should not charge you extra for uploading the documents either.

At TaxAssist, an audit or any other process required by SARS to finalise your tax return is included in the fee originally quoted.

8. What is the best way to get hold of you?

Choose a professional who will be there for you if you have any trouble with SARS later. Look for someone with an office number and not only a cellphone number. It is also better to use practitioners with office addresses as well as an online presence. The bigger their presence, the less likely they are to skip town before you need them.

Try to get as many contact numbers, email addresses and other details as possible for your practitioner of choice and keep them safely in case you need them later.

You can contact TaxAssist via many avenues, all of which are displayed on our Contact page.

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