Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan formally launched the Tax Ombud during the South African budget speech this 7th of April 2014. The aim of the Tax Ombud is to create an avenue where taxpayer’s legitimate complaints, about SARS service and procedure or admin issues, are addressed.
“The Tax Ombud is an additional and free avenue to deal with complaints by taxpayers that cannot be resolved through SARS’s internal mechanisms. The Tax Ombud’s office draws on comparable institutions in Canada and the United Kingdom”, as mentioned by Minister Pravin Gordhan.
SARS needs to accommodate the taxpayer’s complaints and try to resolve them using all their internal resources. Only then, if SARS can’t resolve the complaint, will the Tax Ombud get involved in investigating a resolution to the complaint.
The first Tax Ombud, retired Judge Bernard Ngoepe said, “The office operates independently of SARS, and also treats with strict confidence the communication between it and the taxpayer,” he added. “Given all these as well as other considerations, the office of the Tax Ombud expects to contribute towards boosting the taxpayers’ confidence in tax administration, resulting, hopefully, in even better tax compliance.”
The Tax Ombud reports to the Minister of Finance on an annual basis at Parliament, where the report is presented by the Minister.
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