Who is allowed to file your tax return?

Who can file your tax return for you? When it comes to tax season, there are many questions that come up for taxpayers. One of the most common is who is allowed to file your tax return on your behalf. Below, we outline who is and isn’t allowed to file your taxes, so you can be sure you’re prepared when it comes time to send them off. Keep in mind that if you have any specific questions, it’s best to consult with a professional. They will be able to help guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have. Happy filing! 

 If you’re looking to file your taxes, it can be tough navigating through all the legalese and yearly changes. Besides mastering an extensive list of tax law terms, there’s also everything that evolves with each new legislation season- what was applicable last year may not work this time around! You might think that when faced with the daunting task of filing their annual tax return, many people would turn to a friend or trusted broker for help. But this can have dire consequences if things go wrong- both parties could be in trouble! 

 Requirements to be a Registered Tax Practitioner: Practitioners must first be registered with a SARS approved controlling body before applying for their practitioner number. The governing bodies confirm that the practitioner has displayed their necessary skills and qualifications to file other people’s taxes correctly. They also ensure they take part in continuous professional development programmes, which help keep them up-to date with tax legislation. 

 SARS approved controlling bodies include: 

  • A Law Society
  • Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) 
  • Chartered Secretaries Southern Africa (CSSA) 
  • General Council of the Bar of South Africa 
  • Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) 
  • Institute of Accounting and Commerce (IAC)
  • SA Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) 
  • SA Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA) 
  • SA Institute of Tax Practitioners (SAIT) 
  • The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) 
  • Association of Accounting Technicians Southern Africa (AAT(SA)) 

 If they’re registered correctly, they’ll have both a membership number with a controlling body and a SARS practitioner number. 

 When you’re ready to file your taxes, it’s important that the right professional does all of this work for you. A registered tax practitioner is one such individual who can help make sure any obligations are met and deadlines will be met or beaten without fail! 

 Why Use a Registered Tax Practitioner to File Your Tax Return? 

  • It is required by law 
  • Your tax return should be adequately prepared by a Registered Tax Practitioner, who can also claim all of your allowable deductions. Inaccurate or omitted expenses can end up costing you a lot of money eventually.
  • The code of ethics and conduct established by a Registered Tax Practitioner’s controlling body will guide their behaviour. It has happened that “fly by night” professionals will promise you a refund (and may even base their fee on a portion of your return), but they will do so by filing false claims. Never collaborate with a practitioner of this type. Instead, check with SARS to see if they are registered if you have any suspicions about their behaviour. Nobody — not even a registered tax professional — should promise that you will definitely get a refund. Once all of your available and permitted deductions have been computed, refunds are only applicable if you have overpaid on taxes. Since every person’s tax situation is unique, it is impossible to guarantee a refund for every submission.
  • You can report the unethical activities of a Registered Tax Practitioner to SARS, who will then file a formal complaint with the appropriate controlling authority for review. 
  • In addition to breaching the law, if you file your tax return without using a Registered Tax Practitioner, you will have absolutely no remedy in the event that they act negligently or unethically! 
  • By scheduling an appointment directly with a SARS expert on your behalf, your Tax Practitioner can make the process much more efficient (and less painful!) if you have a problem with your tax assessment and need to get in touch with SARS. You’ll be on your own in SARS’s lengthy lines if you don’t utilize a Registered Tax Practitioner to help you with your problem. 

 If you’re looking for someone to help you file your taxes this year, a registered tax practitioner is the best option. They have the training and experience necessary to make sure your return is done correctly and filed on time. Don’t wait until the last minute – contact us today to get started! 

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