What you need to know about having (or being) a SARS registered representative
Since April 2021 SARS requires all entities to have a registered representative in order for certain e-filing functions to be possible.
What is a registered representative?
A registered representative is a designated person who SARS can consider to be your, or your business entity’s, appointed primary contact.
Why does SARS need this?
SARS has a tax profile for every person and entity that is registered as a taxpayer in South Africa. Your tax profile is what you see when you log into e-filing. It contains all the information and tax history regarding the person or entity it belongs to and is used to perform various SARS functions remotely by the taxpayer themselves, or by a SARS representative.
For SARS to perform certain functions on a tax profile, they need to get authorisation from an appointed person who has full right to speak on behalf of the owner of the tax profile. This is for your own protection so that no one may perform or authorise changes in your tax profile without the proper consent. Much like your bank requires you to confirm transactions requested via your online banking.
The appointed person who is allowed to authorise changes to your profile is called the representative. The representative may be the person who owns the tax profile, like the sole director of a company, or it may be someone else who manages the company’s tax, like an accountant or bookkeeper. In the case of an individual’s tax profile, the representative may even be a trusted family member.
Previously SARS used the contact details provided on the e-filing profile to request authorisation, but with representative registration they are guaranteed to speak to the right person who has the authority to assist them in performing their function.
E-filing functions that require authorisation from a registered representative include submitting a VAT return, submitting an income tax return, performing new tax registrations, and moving a tax type from your tax profile to another profile.
What is a tax type?
Like the name implies, a tax type is a type of tax that you or your business is registered for. The most common version of this is PAYE or normal income tax.
A person or entity can also be registered for VAT, UIF, dividends tax etc. The tax types you or your business are registered for are all listed on your e-filing profile. By transferring (“lending”) one of these tax types to a third party you give them a portal into your e-filing profile so they can perform the function you require them to. They do this via their own profile, so they do not require your login details and any function they perform is recorded on your profile.
What responsibilities do the registered representative have?
An entity’s registered representative carries the responsibility of authorising SARS functions by submitting an OTP (one time pin) or verbally confirming approval from time to time. They are basically, from SARS’s point of view, the voice of the entity.
The representative is also therefore responsible for ensuring the channels of communication SARS uses to contact the entity remain open. If their email address, phone number or physical address changes they must update their representative registration.
The representative cannot be held liable for paying taxes they did not incur, but they will be the one SARS contacts in an effort to retrieve outstanding tax form the entity they represent.
Who may be a registered representative?
Who you may appoint as a representative for yourself or your entity depends on the type of entity in question:
For an individual – Parent/Guardian, Curator, Executor, Administrator
For a sole proprietor – Curator, Executor, Administrator
For a company – Public Officer, Liquidator, Administrator (this applies to state owned companies, private (pty) companies, public companies, incorporations, non-profit companies, closed corporations, and co-operatives.)
For an organisation – Accounting Officer, Liquidator, Administrator
For a club – Treasurer, Liquidator, Administrator
For a trust – Main Trustee, Liquidator, Executor, Administrator
How do I register a representative?
SARS requires documents including FICA requirements to register you, or your appointed person, as the representative of your tax profile. Once these documents have been submitted to SARS they will contact the representative to confirm the details given and finalise the registration.
Not sure how to go about this?
Not to worry. We offer a service where we check and submit your documents and manage your registration appointment on your behalf. Simply click here to get started with registering your representative.
Need to get yourself or your company SARS compliant and ready for international trade? Our friendly and knowledgeable customs consultants are always here to assist. Simply get in touch to get started.
About the author
Frieda-Marié de Jager
With a degree in design from CPUT, Frieda-Marié started her career in digital and content marketing in 2013. Since joining Import Export License in 2019, she’s created several e-books, guides, blog posts, and newsletters on international trade. On weekends you can find her building Lego with the family, walking her beagle, or whipping up a storm in the kitchen.