An Ombud is an independent and impartial officer who deals with complaints about an organisation or agency, whether private or public. Typically these complaints involve issues that the organisation or agency has been unable or unwilling, to resolve to the complainant’s satisfaction.
The Office of the Tax Ombud operates independently of the South African Revenue Service as an impartial mediator between the South African taxpayers and SARS.
FAIR AND IMPARTIAL PROBLEM SOLVING
The Tax Ombud is appointed by the Minister of Finance to whom it reports directly. The Tax Ombud reviews and addresses complaints that are of service, procedural and administrative nature. They work specifically with taxpayers who have been unable to resolve a complaint through the normal complaints management channels of SARS.
HAVE YOU GONE THROUGH THE CORRECT COMPLAINTS CHANNELS?
There are certain circumstances where the Tax Ombud cannot make recommendations. Before approaching the Tax Ombud, taxpayers must first try to resolve their complaints directly with SARS (through SARS’s Complaints Management Office which can be reached on 0860 121 216) unless if there are compelling circumstances.
If still unresolved, you may then submit your complaint to the Office of the Tax Ombud by downloading and completing the Complaints Form on their website, call 0800 662 837, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their office in Pretoria.
Taxpayers should continue to pay the tax amounts due to avoid penalties while their complaint is under review.
HOW DO I LODGE A COMPLAINT?
► You need to obtain a complaint form. Visit the Office of the Tax Ombud or contact the Office by telephone, fax or email to request a copy of the complaint form. The form is also available on their website.
► Document the factual situation of your complaint in chronological order. Attach all the supporting documents relevant to the complaint.
► Ensure that the form is completed in full. Write down the reference numbers from SARS; indicate the name of the SARS branch, date and person you escalated the case to.
► All complaint forms must be signed and dated. If the form does not allow you to relate your complaint fully, use extra paper which must be attached to your complaint form.
► The Office of the Tax Ombud will not accept unsigned forms. Taxpayer representatives must confirm their authority to act on behalf of their clients through a fully completed power of attorney, and submit ID copies of both the taxpayer and taxpayer representative.
► If there is not enough evidence to support your complaint, the matter may be closed. However, they will first give you an opportunity to substantiate your complaint or provide the necessary evidence.
► Once they have received your form, the Tax Ombud will investigate the complaint and decide how to handle it if it falls within their mandate, otherwise they will recommend alternative remedies.