If you have now filed your tax return and have not been selected for either verification – submission of relevant supporting documents – or audit – the South African Revenue Service (SARS) requests further specific information about what is contained on your tax return – then you may be wondering why SARS has not yet paid out your tax refund.
While there is no set time period for SARS to pay out a refund, if your return is finalised and you have not received your refund within 21 business days then it is worth investigating further, says Daniel Baines, author of How to Get a SARS Refund and tax consultant at Mazars.
A common problem that delays the payment of a refund is invalid banking details reflecting on your Efiling profile. To check whether your banking details are valid you can do the following:
1. Click on the ‘Home’ tab at the top of your main Efiling screen;
2. Click on the ‘SARS Registered Details’ tab on the left;
3. Click ‘Maintain SARS registered details’ and then click ‘I agree’ and ‘Continue’;
4. On the left hand side of the screen you must click on the tab that says ‘My bank accounts’.
When this page opens, you can then see whether your banking details are valid on the SARS system. If they are not you will need to go down to SARS to sort this issue out.
If this is not the problem, then you should phone the SARS contact centre (0800 00 7277) and ask why your refund has not yet been paid out. Other common reasons for non-
payment are SARS placing a special ‘stopper’ on your account and your tax returns not being up to date.
You must ensure that you are compliant with SARS otherwise your refund will not be paid out.
If you phone SARS and they cannot give you a reason as to why your refund has not been paid out, you will need to tell SARS telephonically that you wish to escalate the query.
They will then give you a case number (this number is important) and themselves 21 business days to sort the issue.
If this does not work, your best option is to file a complaint with SARS on Efiling.
To do this, follow these steps:
1. Click on the ‘Services’ tab at the top of the main Efiling screen;
2. On the left click on the ‘Complaints’ tab on the left;
3. Click on ‘New Complaint’ and proceed to fill out this form stating that you are lodging a complaint due to your refund not being paid out.
If this does not sort out your problem, then your final option is to lodge a complaint with the Tax Ombud. The Tax Ombud is a government run institution that assists taxpayers to sort out issues with SARS.
It only deals with service, procedural and administrative complaints e.g. SARS failing to pay out a refund with no valid reason. The services of the ombud are free of charge and they have helped many taxpayers to resolve their issues.
Please note that you must first exhaust SARS’ internal remedies (such as lodging a complaint and getting no assistance) before approaching the Tax Ombud, Baines said.