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Fin24 user J L Steyn writes:
When I saw the following rant on hellopeter.com I was
inclined to dismiss it out of hand:
paulm7010 Mon 9 Jul:
Watch your bank accounts! Sars is now so hungry for money
they help themseves to your money directly from your account without any
authorisation, notification or documentation! And Absa can't help you with
However, when a friend of mine reported that Sars (the South African Revenue Service) had taken
money from his account without his knowledge or consent (and pushed him into
overdraft!), I became intrigued to the extent that I looked up my own banking
information as registered on e-filing for the first time in years.
shocked by what I found: my account had now been set up with an
"authorised debit pull".
I have never authorised any debit of any
kind on this account - nor could I logically do so, as the account is a 32-day
call account. In fact, Sars notified me recently that my account had to be
When I went to their offices yesterday, I was told that:
"The account is no longer recognised by the computer system." They
asked me to give them "The number of a savings account, not an investment
I assume that my existing account (already in use for over three
years) no longer suited their purposes, as they were not able to
"pull" any money out of it.
If you look at the attached printout (printing had been
disabled for the data - and I have my suspicions for the reason for that, so I
did a screen dump) you will clearly see what has happened.
I suspect this is
valid for many, if not all, taxpayers, without their knowledge, who are now
sitting ducks. Once Sars has grabbed the money, you may or may not see your
One thing is certain - you will wait a long time for anything to
happen on an appeal. Of course, I cannot check anyone else's account, so I
cannot verify my suspicion that this is institutionalised theft being
perpetrated on a national scale.
I therefore make the appeal that you
investigate the matter (perhaps by checking your own accounts) and bringing the
results to the attention of your readers. Sars will probably deny any
maladministration - but to my mind, the evidence is damning.
(Note that I have changed my account number on this image
for security reasons. All else is unaltered.)
Sars spokesperson Adrian Lackay responds:
I don’t have the details of the taxpayer to be able to look
into his/her tax status.
The allegations that Sars proceeds to remove money from
people’s bank accounts without notifying them in writing is not true.
sends about six letters on average to a taxpayer with outstanding returns or
outstanding tax before taking further punitive actions.
appointing the employer as an agent to deduct money from the taxpayer’s salary - this happens in instances
where there is no response from the taxpayer or where no contact is made with
Sars about outstanding taxes/returns; Sars issues official letters, text
messages and emails - or as a last resort Sars proceeds to remove money
directly from a taxpayer’s bank account.
All communication with the taxpayer is
If a taxpayer has changed their postal address and do not receive
communications from Sars, it must be noted that in terms of the law, the onus
is on the taxpayer to change their contact details, for example on their annual
tax return, or to notify Sars of such changes.
The imposition of administrative penalties is provided for
in law. Provisions for such penalties was made public in draft legislation for
public comment; the legislation went before parliament and was passed into law
To view the Sars penalties brochure click here and for the 'New procedure regarding Administrative Penalty notifications' brochure click here.
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