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Thread: SARS Refunds: Purposeful delay tactics or conspiracy theory?

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    SARS Refunds: Purposeful delay tactics or conspiracy theory?

    Greetings all,

    I don't post here often and when I do, it seems to be when I have a problem and need to borrow a few great minds. (Also, my apologies if this is the incorrect forum topic.)

    My post, as you may have gathered from the title, is about SARS refunds.

    There should be PDF file called SARSSpecialStopper1.pdf attached to this post (if I didn't mess up) which is the central thread I'm writing about. It is a documetn from SAIT (SA institute of tax professionals). My question is whether it is possible or plausible that SARS could be purposefully employing cunning delay tactics to delay tax or vat refunds for as long as possible?

    In my experience so far, the answer to this is emphatically yes, they absolutely are.

    Here's my experience over the past 3 years:

    During the 2014 tax year, I started handling my own ITR12 submissions for the first time, using TaxTim. It was here that I discovered that my tax advisor had incorrectly advised me on matters regarding disability claims for my special needs daughter. I submitted my ITR12 and all the rerquired documents for the ITR-DD and I received a massive refund, within 15 days. I had never submitted a disability claim previously and for the first time doing it myself my experience was quite pleasant.

    Since then, I've been in tax hell.

    Every year following the 2014 submission, something has gone wrong with my efiling profile or some or other document or incorrect personal detail on my IRP5, always resulting in me needing to go to a SARS branch office or asking my employer to resubmit the ITR3. When I go to SARS, I submit my documents as required and then precisely 30 days later, SARS sends me another requirement resulting in the timeline starting over again, regardless of whose fault it was that I need to resubmit some or other document.

    This results in long delays while SARS sits on money earning interest that is rightfully mine. The pattern is similar.

    2015 tax year, submitted in July 2015, I receved my refund in January 2016.
    2016 tax year, submitted in July 2016, I received my refund in February 2017.
    2017 tax year, submitted in July 2017, I will more than likely receive my refund in february 2018 after yet another problem...


    The actual problem with efiling is always something very technical. Last year, I spent hours dealing SARS technical staff trying to troubleshoot the problem. They blamed TaxTim for the issues on my profile. So we deleted my profile, I removed TaxTim but the problems persisted. Eventually the techncial guys said I needed to go to a SARS branch to submit my ITR-12 because they could not solve my issue. This was around deadline time so you can imagine the queues. I needed to return on 3 occasions because of needing to fica and refica and then to fica again.

    The pattern is always the same, constant delays and problems on efiling resulting in the contact centre telling me to go to a branch. Once I'm there I submit everything they ask for but it always ends up with more requests to return to SARS branch offices to bring additional documents. That means going to the bank to get statements on 3 diffeert occasions. Of course, each time they request a new document, the SARS clock starts over and they push my processing time back another 30 days. In the 2016 tax years, I submitted a complaint in December 2016 due to execessive delays. Within 30 days I receievd a response that my complaint was not valid because the case was still within normal processing time. Therefore I had no recourse to complain to the ombud. However, 10 days later I received my refund. Apparently normal processing time is extended in December because processing time is excluded from the 10th of December to the 15th of January. (I'm not sure what the thousands of SARS employees do in this time if they are not processing tax or VAT returns but it makes me wonder.)

    The 2017 tax year has not started well. Last year all my fighting with SARS resulted in me finally dealing with a very professional and pleasant lady at the Bellville branch. She assured me that my profile was now sorted out and that my efiling would be fine from then on. Well apparently not.

    On saturday I logged in to my profile and I was abslutely delighted when I clicked the button to create my ITR12 it did not result in an error. But there was no IRP5 information.... It's as if I was never employed. I contacted the SARS contact centre yesterday and was once again advised to go to a SARS branch. The hell continues.

    However I pressed my advisor for more info. She tells me that my employer did not reconcile correctly and I need to go to a SARS branch or the employer must resubmit the ITR3. She verified that my IRP5 data is visible and present on the core system and she can see that are two of them, but accordiong to her, the reason that it does not appear on my ITR12 has nothing to do with SARS'. Its purely because my employer(s) have not reconciled correctly. That's right, two different employers both messsed up their ITR3 submissions in such a way that it only affects me.

    I found it quite incredible. It's also incredible that only since submitting claims for disability that I suddnely have this tax strife. Other parent in my daighters school report similar hassles with SARS - lost documents, documents submitted over efiling that are perfectly legible being maked as illegible, and the usual issues like verification etc etc.

    I'm convinced the information in the attached PDF from SAIT about verified tactics by SARS to delay vat refunds has extended to people who have a history of receiving tax refunds of certain types. But could it be such a sinister tactic as to purposefully sabotage an efiling profile? Am I being paranoid? Perhaps I should just suck it up and join the queue again this year and expect to do so next year. Should I live with the fact that I've been cursed by the Tech Gods to never submit via efiling again? Is there any merit in my suspicions of purposeful delay tactics, or is this just a horrible set of circumstances?

    Has anyone experienced anything similar and what have you done about it? Perhaps you're a tax professional and you've dealt and solved soemthing like this before. If so, I'd gladly pay you for your time to help me solve this once and for all.

    Thanks for reading and considering my questions, much appreciated.
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    Hi There,
    I have submitted a few clients tax returns this tax year, 2017, and all were refunds. Now normally it takes around 48hrs for the refund to be processed but this year it seems to be taking a bit long. 2016 was a terrible year due to the supposed "criminal activity resulted in profiles being “maliciously” used and bank details being changed". Whether that was true, we don't know.... But that was when the now famous "Special stopper"made its first appearance. My opinion is that they are implementing delaying tactics to process refunds, they are effectively borrowing money from us tax payers .

    Any case, good luck with your 2017 submission. Make sure your Dr. has completed the disability form ITR-DD to avoid further delays!

    Any more hassles you have, report it to the tax ombudsman.

    Cheers!

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    Sars Refunds 1 July 2017

    Quote Originally Posted by Tax101 View Post
    Hi There,
    I have submitted a few clients tax returns this tax year, 2017, and all were refunds. Now normally it takes around 48hrs for the refund to be processed but this year it seems to be taking a bit long. 2016 was a terrible year due to the supposed "criminal activity resulted in profiles being “maliciously” used and bank details being changed". Whether that was true, we don't know.... But that was when the now famous "Special stopper"made its first appearance. My opinion is that they are implementing delaying tactics to process refunds, they are effectively borrowing money from us tax payers .

    Any case, good luck with your 2017 submission. Make sure your Dr. has completed the disability form ITR-DD to avoid further delays!

    Any more hassles you have, report it to the tax ombudsman.

    Cheers!
    Did anyone so far receive a tax refund after 1 July 2017. For some reason there is a delay. The call centre cannot tell when refunds will be processed.

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    and in the meantime they are issuing final demands for 4 day old debt! It's easy to hate them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wrightr1923 View Post
    Did anyone so far receive a tax refund after 1 July 2017. For some reason there is a delay. The call centre cannot tell when refunds will be processed.
    They have stated that they have a 21 day turnaround time for releasing refunds. That being said, all my clients are receiving their refunds within 7 days of Assessment.

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    After 4 hours at SARS, I finally resolved the issue.

    But interestingly a SARS official whispered in my ear that I should submit via a tax practitioner in future... to avoid all the hassles.

    So any tax practitioners out there that can assist me? The ITR12 is ready to submit. Please PM me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by h4ns3n View Post
    After 4 hours at SARS, I finally resolved the issue.

    But interestingly a SARS official whispered in my ear that I should submit via a tax practitioner in future... to avoid all the hassles.

    So any tax practitioners out there that can assist me? The ITR12 is ready to submit. Please PM me.
    I just wanted to thank those tax practitioners that have made contact with me. I have someone helping me with the submission. Sorry for not responding to your PM's but I don't seem to be able to send replies currently.

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