What you need to know about having (or being) a SARS registered representative

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. All actions carried out in this capacity are deemed to have been done by the owner of a tax profile. For companies, the registered representative is generally the public officer.

Why does SARS need this?

There are two basic reasons for why SARS requires this:

  1. SARS requires a person to be accountable for the tax affairs of each tax profile. A company is required by the Income Tax Act to appoint a public officer within one month after the company begins to carry out business or acquire an office in South Africa.
  2. SARS requires a person to communicate with, and to authorise tax activities on an e-filing profile.

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 their appointed representative.

In order to make any changes, update any information or do any accounting functions on a tax profile, the person making the changes needs 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 make changes to your tax profile without proper consent. Much like your bank requires you to confirm transactions requested via your online banking, SARS may ask for authorization from the registered representative through submitting an OTP (one time pin), or verbally confirming approval from time to time.

Some 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 income tax, other tax types include VAT, UIF, PAYE, 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 does the registered representative have?

The registered representative is responsible for the tax affairs of a tax profile. This includes the submission of annual and provisional tax returns, registration of necessary tax types, PAYE related declarations, annual returns, VAT returns (off applicable), notification of address changes and acceptance of notices served against the tax profile.

The representative can appoint one or more third parties, typically an accountant, employee or administrator, to process these functions on their behalf, but is responsible to oversee that it has been done.

The representative also responsible for ensuring that 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.

Who may be a registered representative?

For companies are not in business rescue or liquidation, the representative is the public officer of the company and may be the director, shareholder, accountant, or authorized employee. The public officer must reside in South Africa and be a registered taxpayer with SARS. In the case of an individual’s tax profile, the representative may be the individual who owns the tax profile, the accountant or even a trusted family member.

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

Tracy Venter

Tracy studied at Stellenbosch University and gained her initial experience in imports and exports through working for industry. After starting her own import business, and helping some friends do the same, she realised there was a need for reliable customs registration services. As a result, in 2011, Import Export License was born. Since then thousands of importers and exporters have been helped to obtain their import export licences, permits, specialised customs registrations and connect with Import Export License consultants for advice on importing, exporting, and other customs related matters.