Recognised controlling body
SAIBA is in the process of applying for Recognised Controlling Body (RCB) status with SARS. This means SAIBA members will be able to directly register with SAIBA to obtain their tax practitioner status with SARS.
SAIBA wants to ensure that SAIBA members that also provide tax services to clients, are:
- competent and able to provide high quality services,
- accountable for the work they perform,
- committed to tax CPD,
- aware of their role and responsibility to clients, and society.
Our new Licenced Tax Practitioner aims to achieve this.
Protecting the public interest
Accounting and Tax are two fundamental service lines within the accountancy profession, and require specialist focus and attention to detail.
Aligning our focus on improving the quality of accounting and tax standards means the public is protected from poor service.
- Pre-2020: The era of dual membership.
SAIBA and SAIT co-operated by way of a mutual recognition MOU allowing SAIBA to be presented as the home of accounting officers and SAIT as the home of tax practitioners.
- Post-2020: The licenced Tax Practitioner.
The accountancy has significantly changed over the last few years and regulators and other stakeholders now prefer a profession that is equally represented in all relevant forums, including the RCB forum. Once SAIBA has obtained RCB status the co-operation agreement between SAIBA and SAIT will be further enhanced:
Step 1: Accountant’s designation:
Accountants apply to SAIBA directly for one of our 4 designations: BA(SA), CBA(SA), CFO(SA) and BAP(SA)
Step 2: Licensed tax practitioner
Designated SAIBA members that also provide tax services to clients will apply to SAIBA to become a Licensed Tax Practitioner and pay an additional license fee to obtain tax support services powered by SAIT.
- Existing dual members:
If you are already a member of SAIBA and SAIT there will be no change and you will continue with dual membership. You do not have to follow the licensed route.
Licensed Tax Practitioner
Similar status and authority
The license provides the same status and authority to provide tax services to clients as the following professional designations:
- General Tax Practitioner (GTP) with SAIT.
- Professional Tax Practitioner (PTP) with SAIPA.
- Chartered Accountant (SA) with SAICA.
Purpose of the license
Creating awareness of the professional tax standards applicable to business accountants providing tax services, and confirming their commitment to professionalism.
Assessing the commitment of designated members to providing ethical tax services.
After completing this license the designated member will be able to:
- Identify the appropriate standards applicable in providing tax services
- Promote their uniform application within a tax firm.
- Understanding of members responsibilities when performing tax services.
- Foster increased public compliance with and confidence in our tax system through awareness of good standards of tax practice.
- Enhance the business accountant professional designations.
The following topics are covered in the license
- Study unit 1:
Statement on Standards for Tax Services No. 1, Tax Return Positions
- Study unit 2:
Statement on Standards for Tax Services No. 2, Answers to Questions on Returns
- Study unit 3:
Statement on Standards for Tax Services No. 3, Certain Procedural Aspects of Preparing Returns
- Study unit 4:
Statement on Standards for Tax Services No. 4, Use of Estimates
- Study unit 5:
Statement on Standards for Tax Services No. 5, Departure From a Position Previously Concluded in an Administrative Proceeding or Court Decision
- Study unit 6:
Statement on Standards for Tax Services No. 6, Knowledge of Error: Return Preparation And Administrative Proceedings
- Study unit 7:
Statement on Standards for Tax Services No. 7, Form and Content of Advice to Taxpayers
Why a license for tax practitioners and tax technicians
Accountants are trusted by society to perform their work competently and to the highest ethical standards.
That is why SAIBA require its designated members to annually commit to:
- an annual practice licence (only BAP(SA)), and
- ethical assessment (all designations).
All of these assessment are grounded in the code of conduct, quality control, and engagement standards as issued by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC).
In addition our members that perform tax services are also required to obtain:
- a tax practitioner license
What is to be assessed?
When deciding upon the content to assess for the tax practitioner license the SAIBA Tax Committee considered that our designated members already meet the requirements set out in Section 240 of the Tax Administration Act, 2011:
The tax practitioner license should therefore not be a technical competency test but an aid to members in fulfilling their ethical responsibilities by instituting and maintaining standards against which their professional performance can be measured.
Compliance with professional standards of tax practice also reaffirms the public’s awareness of the professionalism that is associated with a designated member as well as SAIBA.
To achieve the above the Tax Committee considered the Tax Standards as issued by the American Institute for Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and found them in the main relevant to the South African context, and the best in class for tax standards.
The publication on tax standards as issued by the AICPA sets forth tax practice standards that SAIBA considered appropriate for its members performing tax services.
The Tax Standards and their interpretations are intended to complement other standards of tax practice, such as issued by SARS or issued in terms of the Tax Administration Act; and IFAC and SAIBA issued accountancy rules.
The Tax Standards are written in as simple and objective a manner as possible. However, by their nature, practice standards provide for an appropriate range of behavior and need to be interpreted to address a broad range of personal and professional situations.
The Tax Standards recognize this need by, in some sections, providing relatively subjective rules and by leaving certain terms undefined. These terms are generally rooted in tax concepts and, therefore, should be readily understood by tax practitioners working within the South African context.
Accordingly, enforcement of the Tax Standards will be undertaken on a case-by-case basis. Members are however expected to use their best effort comply with them.
If you do tax you have to be licensed
The Licensed Tax Practitioner (LTP) is a professional license that is awarded to:
- members of SAIBA, that has
- obtained a relevant SAIBA designation, and who
- perform tax services as defined in Section 240 of the Tax Administration Act No. 28 of 2011.
- tax practitioners,
- tax attorneys,
- public officers of companies, and
- SARS officials.
In terms of Section 240 of the Tax Administration Act No. 28 of 2011 every natural person who provides advice to another person with respect to the application of a tax; or completes or assists in completing a tax return, such person must register with or fall under the jurisdiction of a Recognized Controlling Body registered with the South African Revenue Services (SARS).
There is no restriction on the tax work which may be under taken by a Licensed Tax Practitioner provided that the practitioner is competent to perform such function.
What you need to do before applying for the license
All RCB are mandated by SARS to require he following from their applicants.
Before you attempt the assessment to obtain your license you need to declare the following:
- you are a member of SAIBA and hold a SAIBA designation;
- you are in good standing meaning;
- during the preceding 5 (five) years, you have not been removed from a related profession by a Controlling Body for serious misconduct;
- during the preceding 5 (five) years, you have not been convicted (whether in the Republic or elsewhere) of: theft, fraud, forgery or uttering a forged document, perjury or an offence under the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, 12 of 2004; or any other offence involving dishonesty, for which you have been sentenced to a period of imprisonment exceeding 2 (two) years without the option of a fine or to a fine exceeding the amount prescribed in the adjustment of Fines Act, 101 of 1991;
- during the preceding 5 (five) years, you have not been convicted of a serious tax offence or been deregistered by SARS as a Tax Practitioner;
- all information provided in your Application, and any supporting documentation attached thereto or submitted in conjunction therewith, is true and correct in all respects; and
- in considering your Application, SAIBA shall be entitled to rely on the truth and accuracy of the information and supporting documentation provided by you at face value.
- you undertake to deliver to SAIBA the original of any document referred to in or attached to your Application;
- You irrevocably consent to and authorise:
- SAIBA to disclose any information and/or supporting documentation referred to in or attached to your Application to SARS;
- SAIBA, to, at any time, conduct such background checks or verification checks as SAIBA deems necessary to verify the accuracy and/or correctness of any information and/or supporting documentation referred to in or attached to your Application; and
- any entity and/or organisation, including but not limited to any University and/or Technicon and/or employer, to provide any and all information and co-operation as may be necessary to enable SAIBA to verify the accuracy and correctness of any information and/or supporting documentation referred to in or attached to your Application.
- You undertake to notify SAIBA in writing should any information in your Application change for any reason whatsoever or any of the declarations contained in the application no longer hold true and correct in all respects.
- You acknowledge and agree that:
- by virtue of your membership with SAIBA, you are bound by and subject to the provisions of SAIBA’s memorandum of incorporation, code of conduct and disciplinary procedures, as amended from time to time and/or as determined by SAIBA from time to time, copies of which are available on SAIBA’s website, www.saiba.org.za;
- you have read and are familiar with the above documents;
- should any of the information and/or supporting documentation referred to in or attached to your Application prove to be inaccurate and/or false and/or misleading, you may be subject to disciplinary sanction including, but not necessarily limited to the imposition of a fine up to R10,000-00 (ten thousand Rand) together with all costs incurred by SAIBA in verifying the correctness of any information and/or supporting document submitted by you in your Application.
- once SAIBA has approved your Application, you will be registered as a Tax Practitioner, be issued with a Licence and that you will immediately be entitled to all the benefits and recognition relating to such registration.
- as a member of SAIBA, you are bound by the conduct and engagement standards contained in the Handbook of the Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants as issued by the International Ethics Standards Board (IESB) for Accountants and the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) Handbook of International Quality Control, Auditing, Review and Other Assurance and Related Services Pronouncements.
- You undertake as a Tax Practitioner to at all times:
- attain and maintain knowledge and skills relevant to the services provided to your clients;
- apply reasonable care, skill, and diligence in understanding how your client funds his/her lifestyle, and ascertaining your client’s state of affairs, to the extent that ascertaining the state of those affairs is relevant to a statement being made by you on behalf of your client;
- ensure that taxation laws are applied correctly and lawfully to the circumstances of your particular client;
- not knowingly obstruct the proper administration of the tax laws;
- ensure that you advise your clients of their rights and obligations under the tax laws of South Africa;
- exercise due diligence and care in your interactions with SARS on behalf of your clients;
- charge fees for work undertaken by you on behalf of your client commensurate with the nature and complexity of the task at hand; and
- not to charge a contingency fee for the completion of tax returns and to consider the principles of the Contingency Fees Act, 1997, when agreeing a contingency fee with clients in all other circumstances.
- You acknowledge and agree that:
- should you fail to comply with any provisions of these Terms, SAIBA’s memorandum of incorporation and/or code of conduct and/or standards of engagements, you will be subjected to SAIBA’s disciplinary procedures, which may result in: suspension or termination or suspension of your membership with SAIBA, SAIBA designation and/or Licence; civil and/or criminal prosecution; reporting such conduct to all relevant authorities, including SARS; the imposition of fines, penalties or other charges by SAIBA; and in the event of termination of your membership with SAIBA, SAIBA designation and/or Licence, publication of your identity and sanction on SAIBA’s website.
- You undertake for the duration of your registration as a Tax Practitioner to complete a minimum of 15 tax related CPD points (e.g. 15 points is equal to 15 hours but calculated based on output or competency assessments in the form of short multiple choice questions) per calendar year, of which:
- 60% (sixty percent) must be verified by SAIBA;
- 40% (forty percent) may be non-verifiable.
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