Obtaining a tax clearance certificate

Obtaining a tax clearance certificate

We know that many of you need a tax clearance certificate to:

  • Support a funding application;
  • Add to the documentation in support of a government tender application; or
  • Confirm, at the time of audit, that you have no outstanding tax liabilities.

The good news is that you can now get an immediate response to your application for a tax clearance certificate (for tenders or good standing) when you apply via eFiling or at a SARS branch. The response will state if the application has been approved, declined or selected for review. SARS states that these service improvements result from the introduction of more robust, automated screening process based on a risk management approach.

If your application is approved, you will need to collect the certificate at a SARS branch. If your application is declined, you will be provided with feedback as to why it has been declined. [Please note that if you take action to rectify a non-compliance at a SARS branch, it could take up to 5 working days (7 if a payment is made by cheque) to determine your revised compliance status; the process of issuing a tax clearance can only begin once your compliance status has been determined.]

It is recommended that, to avoid any unnecessary delays, you should ensure that:

  • The organisation’s registered details are accurate and up-to-date across all the tax types for which the organisation is registered at SARS; and
  • The organisation’s income tax number (a mandatory field on the application) reflects on the eFiling profile (if application is made via eFiling). This income tax number is not always easily available – in most cases, SARS will have created the 10-digit income tax reference number when the organisation applied for, and was given, income tax exemption as a PBO. If the number was applied for separately, it would have been given via the income tax department.  Our experience is that communication of the income tax reference number by SARS is not a routine matter, so we encourage every organisation to ensure that its income tax reference number is available; if not, it can be obtained by the organisation’s public officer calling SARS.

If you need help with the application process for a tax clearance certificate, do not hesitate to give us a call.