The South African Quality Authority (SAQA) is pleased to finally announce the
registration of the Tax Professional as an occupational qualification, after a five
year gestation which incorporated lengthy deliberations between the South
African Revenue Service, industry and academia.
All industry stakeholders assisted in the development of the occupation
qualification, with large professional services firms and universities playing the
leading role. "The development of the tax occupational qualification is a landmark
qualification for South Africa,' comments Cheryl James, CEO of Seta for Finance,
Accounting, Management Consulting and Other Financial Services (Fasset); which
was responsible for funding the occupational development.
The South African Institute of Tax Professionals (SAIT) was appointed by
government to set the standard and ensure compliance with the criteria laid
down for the occupation. "In line with SARS? respected international status,
South Africa now enjoys an international standard of qualification for the tax
profession', says Chief Executive of SAIT, Stiaan Klue. Klue is also the continent
wide vice president of the African Association of Tax Institutes.
The tax profession has been in the spotlight in recent years for non-
compliance. Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan introduced law in 2013 which
required all tax practitioners to register with SARS and a recognised controlling
body, such as SAIT, by 1 July 2013.
According to SARS reports there are 34000 tax practitioners in South Africa -
17000 tax advisors do not have a tax qualification. Minister Gordhan has
criticised the wide spread non-compliance of tax practitioners, alleging that tax
advisors owe over R260 million in outstanding taxes, and account for more than
18 000 outstanding income tax returns in their personal capacity.
"One shudders to think that they offer tax advice to the public without formal
training. In recent years tax legislation has become very complex, and the non-
compliance highlighted by the Minister can be directly linked to their technical
ability to perform the work. The occupational qualification will address the issue
of training and certification of tax professionals and ensure South Africa
compares with the international standard," says SAIT Head of Education, Ronel