Who is a tax practitioner?
A tax practitioner is someone who completes SARS returns on behalf of third parties for reward/a fee. A person who completes their own tax returns or the tax returns of their employer is not required to register as a tax practitioner.
The two key requirements for all SARS tax practitioners are:
- Tax practitioners must have at least an NQF Level 4 qualification; and
- Must be registered with an authorised controlling body, who will administer, regulate, and manage the conduct of SARS tax practitioners.
REQUIREMENT 1: Tax practitioners now required by law to hold minimum qualifications – and register them with SARS
It is a legal requirement that all tax practitioners have at least an NQF Level 4 qualification. ICB learners who have the FETC certificate: Bookkeeping NQF 4, the National Diploma: Technical Financial Accounting NQF 5, or the National Diploma: Financial Accounting NQF 6 qualifications are eligible.
If you are a tax practitioner registering with a NQF level 4 qualification, you must obtain a recognised NQF Level 5 qualification within three years.
REQUIREMENT 2: Registration with a controlling body
SARS has appointed several professional bodies to control the registration of tax practitioners. The ICB is partnering with the South African Institute of Tax Practitioners (SAIT) to facilitate the registering and administration of ICB Tax Practitioners.
ICBA members and graduates can apply for SARS tax practitioner status through SAIT, if
- You have successfully completed our Senior Bookkeeper, Technical Financial Accountant or Financial Accountant qualifications; and
- You are a registered, current and paid-up member of the ICB, with the designation of Certified Senior Bookkeeper, Certified Technical Financial Accountant or Certified Financial Accountant;
- … and you meet SAIT’s criteria (see main criteria below).
ALL existing SARS tax practitioners must comply
By law, ALL ICB members and graduates who wish to be tax practitioners must do the following:
- Register as a member of the ICBA, and ensure that your membership is valid for the current year.
- Apply to the ICBA’s membership department asking to be recognised as a SARS tax practitioner. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org. The ICBA will supply you with a letter of recommendation that you must submit to SAIT.
- Register with SAIT and comply with their registered tax practitioner requirements. These are specified by the Tax Administration Act, and will be communicated to each applicant on a case by case basis. Requirements include years of experience, qualification level, etc., and you will need to
a. Confirm that you have no criminal record. At this stage, this is simply a question you answer on the SAIT application form; no proof is required yet.
b. Provide SAIT with a tax clearance certificate. If you have a dispute with SARS, then you will need to provide an explanation as to why tax clearance will only be received after the dispute has been resolved.
c. Complete SAIT’s CPD Competency Assessment, if you obtained your ICB qualification before 2008. If you obtained your ICB qualification after 2008, you do not need to undergo any further assessment.
- Approval is subject to your being an ICBA member of good standing, with your membership fees and SAIT fees both fully paid up. Remember, as a current ICBA member you will get a 50% discount on SAIT’s fees.
- Once SAIT has approved your accreditation, they will provide you with an accreditation number. You must add this to your SARS e-Filing profile when you register as a tax practitioner with SARS, or when you update your details with them.
- Approval of tax practitioner status by SAIT is subject to you meeting all the membership requirements of SAIT, and is at their sole discretion.
Are fees payable to the ICB?
There is no fee payable to the ICB for the granting of the Tax Practitioner Letter of recommendation, as long as you are a current paid up member of the ICBA. Each year going forward, you will be required to pay your normal ICBA membership fees. The current ICBA membership fee for qualified members is R620.00 for 2017.
Are fees payable to SAIT?
You will need to pay SAIT for registration as a tax practitioner. As long as your ICBA membership is up to date, we have negotiated a 50% discount with SAIT for you for their fee. You will need to produce the ICBA’s letter of recommendation in order to qualify. You will need to pay annual membership fees to retain your SAIT membership.
SAIT’s minimum requirements for membership is as follows –
An NQF level 4 qualification
5 years Tax based experience
If you meet the above requirements, you may complete an online application at the following link.
Please be aware of all fees and requirements per designation.
The ICB and ICBA welcomes these new regulations as they will help promote professionalism and trust in our industry and get rid of rogue tax practitioners. We are committed to looking after the interests of our members and graduates.
For details on registering with the ICBA please visit the ICBA website.