SARS Introduces Rule Change For Tax Disputes



Taxpayers in South Africa are gearing up for the 2023 tax filing season. These taxpayers are encouraged to familiarise themselves with several rule changes introduced for tax disputes.



The South African Revenue Service (SARS) announced that the 2023 Filing Season will commence on Friday, 7 July 2023. This leaves taxpayers with weeks to prepare for the upcoming tax filing season. 

It's important to note that SARS will introduce several new rules during the 2023 tax filing season to handle tax disputes. Taxpayers are encouraged to familiarise themselves with these changes before their submissions. 

A tax dispute typically occurs when the taxpayer believes that they have been unfairly assessed or treated by the tax authorities. Resolving these disputes typically involves communication between the parties and negotiation.

Tax Specialist Nico Theron says the main change made to the tax dispute rule gives taxpayers more time to lodge a dispute. Aggrieved taxpayers still have the right to object to such an assessment or decision

Previously, taxpayers who were unhappy with their tax assessment could lodge a dispute within 30 days of receiving their assessment for it to be considered. However, the new rules allow taxpayers to lodge appeals within 80 business days for their dispute to be considered. 

A taxpayer who is aggrieved by an assessment or decision may lodge a dispute thereto. To dispute the outcome of the assessment or decision, a specific process must be followed within 80 business days from the date of the assessment. 

Theron says one of the main reasons for the change is that there is no set period for SARS to raise an assessment. However, in the past, taxpayers would then have to scramble to raise a dispute in 30 days. 

Some decisions require manual lodging of disputes, such as for trusts and declined applications for exemption or section 18A.

It's important to note that taxpayers cannot object to a self-assessment like Value-Added Tax (VAT) or Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE), where no assessment has been raised by SARS.

Taxpayers are advised that disputes can be lodged by submitting an objection form via the eFiling portal or at any SARS branch office. Individuals who want to submit a dispute at a branch office are reminded to make an appointment. 

If you disagree with the decision made by SARS in considering your objection, you have the right to appeal that decision.

Taxpayers can also submit an appeal if they disagree with the decision made by SARS in considering your objection. 

A manual process is utilised to submit appeals for decision made by the commissioner relating to income tax exemption applications, section 18A approvals and Exempt Institutions established as trusts

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is also available, where SARS and the taxpayer can attempt to resolve the dispute through a less formal and inexpensive process. The ADR process aims to provide a quicker and more cost-effective remedy for resolving tax disputes.


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The 2023 Tax filing season is on the horizon and the South African Revenue Service wants to ensure that taxpayers are up to speed with its Tax filing procedures. This applies to SARS’s auto-assessment process.  




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