Things changed for the average South African over recent months as a result COVID-19. Government, business and individuals all had to consider more appropriate ways of dealing with aspects normally dealt with in person. During this time, we are forced to consider ways that allow for more technology and less face-to-face. Some of these will likely last beyond the current COVID-19 restrictions to hopefully assist in faster & better ways of dealing with tax affairs.
We will all have the need at some stage in our lives, to update our banking details with SARS to ensure SARS has the latest details available when making refunds to a taxpayer. To this end, SARS provided an external guide which deals with the ways in which a tax payer can change their banking details at SARS without going to a SARS branch. This was issued on 16 April 2020.
SARS will not allow any bank details to be changed telephonically, through fax or through the post.
Only a South African cheque / current account, savings account or transmission account details may be supplied. Credit card, bond account or foreign bank accounts are not permitted. The bank account should be in the name of the taxpayer.
For tax types, other than VAT, SARS also allows that the type of bank account be a corporate saver account. At this stage, these are Investec’s Corporate Cash Manager (CCM) current accounts, Standard Bank’s Third Party Fund Administration current accounts and Nedbank’s Corporate Savers savings accounts. This list may change as SARS continues to work with the banks to identify appropriate account types.
With regards to foreign bank accounts and bank accounts in the name of a third party, other than the taxpayer, there are certain very strict exceptions that may apply. These are discussed in brief a bit later on.
The change of banking details may be done through the following channels:
On SARSeFiling (preferred channel) :
Done through the RAV01 form. The RAV01 form shows taxpayer’s details, such as name, address, contact details as well as banking details. This is accessed under SARS Registered Details / Maintain SARS Registered Details, once you have logged into SARSeFiling. It is also possible to have different bank accounts per type of tax (for example income tax, PAYE, VAT, Customs).
This channel can also be used where SARS requested verification of details and provided a link for the case created. Once you have logged into SARSeFiling, go to SARS Correspondence and find the relevant letter. There should be a button that will take you to a page where you can upload supporting documentation.
When submitting their Personal Income Tax return in the case of individuals.
SARS Mobile Tax Units.
Via email for Exceptional Circumstances (as per below) only.
In person at a SARS branch, where it is impossible for the requestor to use electronic means. In this instance, please make sure that you have an appointment at the SARS branch.
On the SARS page (https://www.sars.gov.za/Contact/Pages/Send-us-a-Query.aspx) which explains how to use the online query system as well as providing the link thereto (https://tools.sars.gov.za/soqs).
The following people may change bank details:
For individuals, the individual themselves with access to their SARSeFiling profile or through the other available means mentioned above.
For other legal entities: A person registered as a Representative Taxpayer for the relevant entity at SARS, typically the Public Officer, Director of company, Member of CC, Partner in partnership, Treasurer, Accounting Officer, Curator, Liquidator, Executor, etc.
A Tax Practitioner, registered with a controlling body (such as SAIT) and SARS, with a SARS allocated PR number. The Tax Practitioner will also be required to have a valid power of attorney, confirming that he / she is allowed to update banking details of the taxpayer.
In Exceptional Circumstances (see below), a Requestor with a written mandate. These are typically personal assistant / clerk / administrative officer of the tax practitioner, tax consultant, Director, Fund Administrator, Secretary, Attorney, Advocate, Legal Advisor, Auditor, Bookkeeper, etc. Such Requestors will not be able to change the banking details on SARSeFiling if not linked on SARSefiling.
The Exceptional Circumstances under which SARS will allow a request for change of banking details to be done by a Requestor with a mandate are:
Any estate – in the case of a deceased estate, only the person appointed by the Master of the High Court with a Letter of Authority or letter of Executorship
Where the taxpayer is incapacitated, terminally ill, a non-resident (emigrant, expatriate, foreigner or SA citizen temporarily outside the Republic), imprisoned, a minor child
Where a trustee is appointed to act on behalf of an insolvent individual and/or trust
Where distance of the taxpayer from the SARS branch is more than 200km.
If SARS do not have valid banking details for the taxpayer, the taxpayer will be informed by SARS via SMS or email.
During this COVID-19 period, the person submitting the supporting documentation for the updating or verification of banking details electronically to SARS must provide an image as per below examples, as supplied by SARS. The one example is where there is a SARS case number that can be provided, while the other one is where the request is to update details. In both instances, the image need to include a clear picture of the person holding the ID document of him / her dealing with the submission and the note (may be hand-written).
The following supporting documentation needs to be supplied for updating or verifying banking details:
Stamped letter from the bank (can be electronically stamped), not older than 3 months, confirming account holder, account number, account type and branch code or
Bank, ATM, or electronic eStamped bank statement, not older than 3 months, confirming account holder, account number, account type and branch code
For a holding company, subsidiary company or non-resident company for VAT, a VAT119i indemnity form is required in instances where a 3rd party’s bank details are used.
Apart from the above supporting documentation, the following supporting documentation is also required:
A copy of a valid South African ID document (front and back in case of card ID), drivers licence, passport, temporary ID, asylum seeker certificate / permit (even though it is not specifically mentioned that these should be certified, I would suggest to do so wherever possible). This should not be older than 3 months
A copy of proof of residential address (or completed CRA01 form that is available on SARS’ website if another person confirms the taxpayer’s residential address), not older than 3 months.
If the banking details are that of a joint bank account, shared by both spouses, a copy of a marriage certificate.
If the banking details are that of a joint bank account, shared by a life partner, an affidavit by both partners to confirm the shared account and the reason why the taxpayer is unable to have his / her own bank account.
A power of attorney where the request is done by a Tax Practitioner or a Requestor with a mandate.
A copy of the CIPC Registration Certificate and Notice of Incorporation
A copy of a valid South African ID document (front and back in case of card ID), drivers licence, passport, temporary ID (even though it is not specifically mentioned that these should be certified, I would suggest to do so wherever possible, not older than 3 months) of the Public Officer / Representative Taxpayer
A copy of proof of residential address, not older than 3 months, of the Public Officer / Representative Taxpayer (or completed CRA01 form that is available on SARS’ website if another person confirms the residential address)
A copy of proof of physical business address (or completed CRA01 form), not older than 3 months.
A letter of appointment from the Company (signed by all Directors) where the request is received from the Representative Taxpayer. If it is not possible for all Directors to sign, the Company’s Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI) should be attached with a specific section dealing with how decisions are made and the quorum required to make decisions.
A power of attorney (signed by the registered Public Officer as per SARS records) where the request is done by a Tax Practitioner or a Requestor with a mandate.
For taxpayers falling within the categories of Exceptional Circumstances, I would suggest referring to the SARS website for specific documentation required or to contact a registered Tax Practitioner to assist.
We are all charting unfamiliar waters. Let’s try our best to be understanding and to use technology as best we can. We will not always get it right and SARS will also not always get it right, but if we work together, we can learn and find ways to accommodate each other in this strange new environment.