Your responses to last week's article SARS and delays proved interesting and are reproduced here.
"In antwoord op u vraag of daar baie vertragings is met uitreiking van kwitansies. Die antwoord is JA!! SARS het nou van Prokureurs Nie-betaalde agente gemaak om hulle uitstaande belastings te vorder. Dit is seker hoekom daar so baie geld oor is vir die belastingjaar en intussen moet prokureurs nou soos kaartmannetjies op en af spring om te sorg dat koper en verkoper se belastingsake in orde is."
"Die meeste eiendomsagente het dan ook alreeds 'n "ontsnap" klousule in hul kontrakte ingebou.
Die meeste probleme word deur ons ondervind met BTW transaksies waar beide partye [verkoper en koper] skuldig is en dan word daar net druk toegeplaas deurdat die partye 'n kennisgewing ontvang waar hulle 'n tydperk gegun word om die probleme uit te sorteer in samewerking met hul ouditeure.
Die oomblik wat ons met 'n BTW transaksie te doen het word verkoper en koper mondelings en skriftelik verwittig dat hul BTW aangeleenthede in orde moet wees voordat ons die TD5 vorm indien [veral met 0% BTW] want SARS se forensiese ouditeure ondersoek elke aansoek om meriete en behou hulself die reg voor om te enige tyd met 'n lys van vereistes te kom en die moontlike vereiste tot betaling van BTW en wat ons vind dat die party wie die BTW moet betaal gewoonlik dit dan laat blyk dat hy nie oor die "fondse" beskik nie. Die vereiste word dan net deur ons gestel dat hulle spesiale reëlings in die verband moet tref sodat alles in plek is vir ingeval SARS wel BTW betaling sou vereis want na alles is 'n koopkontrak geteken.
Die vergaderings wat SARS met die akteuitmakers landwyd gehad het, het duidelik gestel wat die verpligting is van die akteuitmaker teenoor verkoper/koper en hantering van transaksies met hierdie nuwe "era" vir hereregte/BTW - so daar is eintlik nie 'n verskoning deur akteuitmakers "met die probleme wat hulle nou met SARS ondervind" kan regverdig nie."
"As a conveyancer I find that it takes me considerably longer to prepare all the TD forms and possible queries before I send these to SARS than it takes me to prep a bond or a straightforward transfer for lodgement.
I have a suspicion that I have, since introduction of the new regime, registered more persons for Income Tax (IT 77) than the average chartered accountant. Clients hate me for this! Surely we must be able to charge extra for this - as accountants must/can do!
Yes I have experienced serious delays and commensurate financial losses because of SARS delays.
Cape Town SARS concedes that it cannot refuse the receipt but that they are entitled to query it in terms of legislation. I wish some people with a better knowledge of the various Tax Acts can confirm or defeat this notion.
We always seem to experience "new" hurdles in conveyancing. Just as we managed after four bitter years of fighting with the City of Cape Town to have the rates department jacked up, SARS comes and makes our lives a misery. What next?"
"I have to advise that there is almost no exception to the rule in that almost all transactions are delayed by SARS due to the tax affairs of the parties to transactions not being in order. It has become so ridiculous (to say the least) in that SARS recently refused to issue a receipt because the purchaser owed an amount of R192,00."
"I definitely experience delays in obtaining the transfer duty receipts. In certain cases our transactions has been delayed by as much as 4 months due to a dispute between the seller and SARS."
"My impression from dealings with the Pretoria office of SARS is that they appear to have moved away from requiring up to date tax affairs of clients prior to issuing a Transfer Duty receipt or Exemption.
I note too, your reference to Amendments to the Transfer Duty Act, empowering SARS with respect to new forms and the withholding of Transfer Duty Receipts and exemptions. My understanding was that the Commissioner exercised the powers granted to him by the Transfer Duty Act to amend the forms required, but that the "withholding" of Transfer Duty Forms was not specifically authorized by any legislation. If I am incorrect, kindly refer me to the relevant Amendment Act.
In general I have found that more than 95% of taxpayers are up to date, and the effect on transactions is due more to delays in obtaining information from clients with respect to tax numbers."
Leon J van Rensburg wants a question to be posed in Parliament:
"I suggest that a question be posed in Parliament to the Minister of Finance, as he will then have to answer this question relating to all offices of SARS where transfer duty is payable.
A member of the standing portfolio committee on Finance in Parliament who can be asked to put this question to the Minister is Mr Kobus Marais, with telephone number 0844483838.
Perhaps it will be better to have the Minister answer the question based on real facts, rather than have people make comments only on what their personal experiences are."
Anne-Marie Kotzee has a problem which she would like to have solved:
"I have experienced the delay beforehand with one of the transfers handled by our firm. The purchase price is only R40 000,00. At first SARS ruled that a TD5 must be completed because the seller is registered for VAT and therefore VAT is applicable and not transfer duty. We were of the opinion that transfer duty is applicable even though the seller is registered for VAT as the property is not used in the business of the seller (almost like a residential property to a business property).
We then completed the VAT TD5 and submitted the new TD documentation to SARS. SARS then rejected the documents with a note that some of the VAT returns of the seller were outstanding. We have been struggling for more than a year now to get the seller to submit the outstanding VAT returns. According to the seller, the documentation was handed to his accountant but when the accountant relocated to another area all the bank statements and invoices were lost. Numerous telephone requests later, no returns have been submitted to SARS yet.
Meanwhile, at the beginning of the transaction, the parties agreed (although advised to the contrary by us) to pay the amount of R20 000,00 directly to the seller. We have made the necessary enquiries and are now informed by SARS that an amount of more than R200 000,00 is outstanding and payable for previous VAT returns.
There is no way that the seller is able to pay the outstanding balance and I am sure that there is no way that SARS will issue the transfer duty exemption without receiving the outstanding amounts owing. The purchaser does not want to cancel the deed of sale. The only option is to reason with SARS and to pay the balance of the purchase price (which is less than R20 000,00 (after payment of the clearance certificate to the municipality)) and request a transfer duty receipt to be issued.
Even if the deposit of R20 000,00 has not been paid to the seller, the purchase price of R40 000,00 is less than the amount owing by the seller to SARS. Does anyone have any other suggestions to solve this problem??"
In general SARS has been the thorn in every conveyancers' flesh. It seems that not only do they require conveyancers to act as collecting agents which obviously saves them the effort and expenses. Delays are futher caused by persons who are being utilised to handle queries. To my astonishment recently the person at the queries section vehemiently refused to make a receipt final, raising the argument that the deeds office must indicate that the persons are married in community of property even though I showed her the note as raised by the Deeds office.
Suffice to say that I had to persue the matter with a senior person. Imagine the time spent at the offices of SARS. But please do not even think that you will be able to obtain a reciept during the festive season. It is the practice in Cape Town to ensure that SARS tends to go on a 10 -15 day holiday period.
Behalwe dat SAID, veral by BTW transaksies, baie tydsaam is, is daar twee ander probleme wat ons firma ook onlangs ondervind het. Kwitansies "verdwyn" net en wanneer daar navraag daaromtrent gedoen word, trek SAID se amptenare bloot hulle skouers op en moet jy maar van vooraf begin - hoewel jy in die tweede rondte darem vinniger gehelp word. Dan is daar die probleem van die onbereikbaarheid van SAID as jy 'n probleem telefonies met hulle wil bespreek.
Dit is nou eers 'n nagmerrie! Geen een telefoon kan die heel oggend beset bly en dan as verskoning aangebied word dat hulle baie besig is nie. Ons is oortuig daarvan dat hulle bloot die telefone van die mikkies afhaal om sodoende persoonlike konfrontasie te vermy.