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Thread: My SARS HELL- HELP!!!

  1. #1

    Default My SARS HELL- HELP!!!

    I got a call from a SARS official about a month ago saying I owed SARS R70 000. I almost fell down the stairs I was on at the time of the call. I could not believe it and scheduled a meeting with the official.

    Fearing that they are probably going to confuse me with lots of SARS terminology, I phoned the company that handles my TAX return and asked them to organize a representative to come with me to the meeting. A few hours later a lady called asking the details of the SARS representative and she would contact him and see what they can sort over the phone.

    The next day I got a call back from her saying that there is no need to have the meeting and she has canceled it. I requested advice on how to move forward and they said they would look into the matter and contact me back. Turns out according to the accounting firm, I do owe SARS R70 000 because of my travel allowance.

    Now the strange thing to me is that this is the first I've heard about it, and according the accounting firm it dates back to the year 2000 which means all the arrears and intrest ect... now adds up to R70K. It was a hard pill to swallow. I asked them for advice on how to solve the problem, and they sent me documentation called "COLLECTION INFORMATION STATMENT FOR INDUVUDUALS" .

    Which basically is a request to SARS for me to pay off the amount on a monthly basis.

    Subsequently I spoke to our HR department and asked them how I can owe this amount seeing that I'm a normal salary employee. Turns out that they have been giving me a R3500 travel allowance for the last 7 years and admitted that it is now agents the law and because they face penalties from SARS they corrected it a few months back.

    It took some time to get all the documentation that SARS required (Bank Statements, Credit Card statements, Life insurance, car insurance, clothing accounts, the list goes on.)

    I sent all the information on to my accountant and got a call from the SARS official today saying that they have not received it yet, and said my accountant was slack with returning phone calls. The representative was very upset, and I explained that I did submit the information and he must not get upset with me if there is some slack from their side, then he started threatening me saying that SARS in his words will "Banish" my salary and deduct R11 000 for 6 months.

    I almost died. For someone like me it financially ruin me. I've got kids to feed bills to pay, and hardly keeping my head above the water as it is. If this happens I will not even be able to pay for food for my kids, send them to school, it's a nightmare, and I'm fearing the worst might come true.

    My accountant submitted the documentation to him and a few hours later I got a call asking for me to meet with him this week. I'm really at my end, and don't know what to do. I'll see what happens in the meeting, but if anyone can offer me some advice please?

    It's not that I'm not paying my tax, over R60K per year goes to SARS and my accountant submits my TAX returns every year. Can SARS just turn around like this and ruin someone financially, it does not make sense to me, for them to take someone who pays that much per year and through them out on the street (because that is what will happen seeing that I will not even have money to pay for petrol to get to work, and end up getting fired) and miss out on that R60K they get from me. Do they not have a heart?

    HELP PLEASE.

  2. #2
    Captain Faptastic
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    Default

    Man, I wish I could offer you some or other form of advice. All I can do is sincerely wish you luck in this matter and hope that you reach an affordable agrrement with SARS that won't have too much of a negative effect on your family's lifestyle.
    I think old people should be killed at birth

  3. #3
    Super Grandmaster supersunbird's Avatar
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    He probably meant threatened that they will Garnish your salary, not banish.

    Anyway, did you get a travel allowance (what I mean it did the amount (R3500) show on your payslip for the past7 years)?
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  4. #4
    Super Grandmaster
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    Pack your bags - go into hiding

    I had a run in with SARS when I first started working in 2000 - wasn't pretty, fortunately my company bailed me out.

  5. #5

    Default

    If the company you work for admits guilt then they should pay the arrears to SARS.
    If however you haven't been including that R3500 in your tax returns then you're liable - fair and square.

    Not declaring income of any sort in your tax returns is called tax evasion and pleading ignorance isn't going to help.

  6. #6
    Super Grandmaster
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    I even declared my R97 savings account income

  7. #7

    Default

    Contact a tax lawyer.
    If the accounting firm screwed up you should sue them. If it showed on your payslip they should have picked it up and calculated your tax accordingly.

    If it was your employer sue them

    Just remember your accountants will try to cover their @ss so really think about getting a lawyer who specialize in tax law to review your returns and maybe sit in on the meetings. Might cost you cheaper.

  8. #8
    King of de Jungle Garyvdh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_S View Post
    If the company you work for admits guilt then they should pay the arrears to SARS.
    If however you haven't been including that R3500 in your tax returns then you're liable - fair and square.

    Not declaring income of any sort in your tax returns is called tax evasion and pleading ignorance isn't going to help.
    Agreed... your company should have been the one paying that tax. You need to set up a meeting with your company as well.

  9. #9

    Default

    You said your accountants did your tax for you for the last few year too? Maybe they should have picked something up? Tough spot to be in though, it is a bit difficult to figure out exactly what the story is from what you have told us, but between your accountants and SARS officials you should be able to sort it out (in other words you should not be done in).

    If the amount owing originates from the fact that your returns were submitted incorrectly or because of incorrect amounts claimed, then the accountants should accept responsibility if they did not show due care (or at least they should sort it out), and the same goes for your employer if the problem originated from their side.
    Last edited by Stefanmuller; 12-07-2010 at 03:07 PM.

  10. #10

    Default

    Hi All.

    Thanks for the quick responses, I really appreciate it. I agree that my company should take some responsibility on some level, even if it's 50/50.

    From what I understand the reason I never heard about the R70K up to now is because as soon as you have a accountant that represents you then anything coming from SARS will get sent to them, and they will inform you. If SARS ever sent that information to them, is unclear.

    As for the R3500 yes looking at one of my old pay slips it does show, not on the new ones though which confirms that my company made the changes.

    Tax lawyer that it out of my financial reach.

  11. #11

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    There is a lesson here folks....do not trust your accountants to do your tax returns properly. Do not plead ignorance and whine about not knowing how to do a tax return yourself. Check and double check the return before your accountant submits it. Ultimately it is YOU not your accountant who will get into trouble if your tax return is not correctly submitted.

    Filling in a tax return is not rocket science and everything you need to know is publicly available on the internet. A good tax accountant should guide you with filling one in, but you're crazy to completely rely on him to do everything without any oversight from yourself.

  12. #12
    Super Grandmaster supersunbird's Avatar
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    Did you travel for work? Obviously it might be hard to prove now but work travel expenses you paid for with that allowance shouldn't be taxable, only the amount you didn't use for travel will be taxed in whatever taxbracket you fall under.
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  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Johan449 View Post
    Contact a tax lawyer.
    If the accounting firm screwed up you should sue them. If it showed on your payslip they should have picked it up and calculated your tax accordingly.

    If it was your employer sue them

    Just remember your accountants will try to cover their @ss so really think about getting a lawyer who specialize in tax law to review your returns and maybe sit in on the meetings. Might cost you cheaper.
    What Johan said. What happened though? Sounds like you either claimed against a travel allowance that should never have been allowed or that the company gave you a travel allowance when they should not have done so? Sounds like you did not know about any travel allowance before? Points fingers to the employer IMO.

  14. #14

    Default

    Hi

    The reason why my company faced penalties was because they gave travel allowances to office bound staff. So no I could not use my travel allowance.

    Sorry should have been more clear.

  15. #15

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by supersunbird View Post
    He probably meant threatened that they will Garnish your salary, not banish.

    Anyway, did you get a travel allowance (what I mean it did the amount (R3500) show on your payslip for the past7 years)?
    With SARS, banish is more accurate and since they have access to your bank account they do not need a garnish order.

    Anyway, my wife owes SARS R15K since 2000 after her then bookkeeper disappeared with the cash (and many other peoples cash). She has struggled for 10yrs to resolve the issue with them in a manor that she can avoid penalties (interest). What we have learn't is that its not your money, its SARS (and thats what they said) - so don't fight it.

    But in all honesty, this is a big shocker and would never want something like this to happen to me.
    Character is how you treat those that can do nothing for you.

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