Have you changed your banking details and want to submit your tax return?
By Ilsa Groenewald, Associate Director, Tax, BDO Durban
Because fraud prevention is top of mind in financial dealings today, changing banking details for any legal entity registered with SARS is a strict and comprehensive process.
This applies to individuals, trusts, close corporations and companies, according to Ilsa Groenewald, Associate Director for tax at the Durban office of audit, tax and advisory firm BDO South Africa.
“Filing opens on 3 July 2017, so it is vital that all personal details, for example banking details, correspond with those on the SARS data base. If they don’t, the verification process will fail and any tax refund will be placed on hold until SARS has verified the change,” Groenewald said.
Here, she outlines the steps to take for individuals whose details have altered and who are not registered for e-filing.
“Visiting a SARS branch in person has proven to be the best option for people not registered for e-filing, as SARS is able to verify that the person requesting the change is in fact authorised to do so,” she continued.
This required a number of documents to be presented starting with an original identity document, passport, driver license or asylum seekers permit.
Another essential document is an original bank statement not more than three months old.
“If you can’t provide a statement, you are required to present an original letter, on a letterhead, from the bank, reflecting the new bank account details and the date the account was opened,” Groenewald said. “For ABSA bank clients, an e-stamped statement will be accepted as long as it is not more than three months old.”
“A statement drawn at an ATM branch, will be accepted as long as it contains the same information as if the statement was drawn at the bank. Details that need to be clear, for verification by SARS, are the holder of the account (legal name), the account number, the type of account, branch code and statement date.”
Groenewald said that individuals were also required to present proof of their residential address in the form of a municipal account, a fixed line account, a mobile phone statement (or a copy of the lease agreement) or an affidavit issued by the Commissioner of Oaths. All of these should not be older than three months.
She said it was important to note that if individuals requested a change of banking details via email, phone, fax or post, SARS would not update their records.
“Verification is the key word here,” Groenewald said. “Changing banking details is considered sensitive information by SARS and they take a great deal of care to ensure that the taxpayer is protected against possible fraud.”
Those who don’t have the time to visit SARS and prefer to appoint their tax practitioner to assist them will need to sign SARS’s Special Power of Attorney by Practitioner form, which will authorise this process.
She warned that if their tax practitioner’s details did not correspond with those on the SARS website, it would not be possible for them to have the change in banking details registered.
Groenewald went on to say that care should be taken when completing individual tax returns for 2017, and that submitting the correct personal details was as important as the income and deduction information.
She advised people to retain all necessary supporting documentation as SARS could select their return for audit.
Groenewald said that anyone who needed help with changing their banking details with SARS was welcome to contact her on 031 5147030 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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