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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 authorise tax activities on an eFiling 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 eFiling. 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 or by their appointed representative.

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 the full right to speak on behalf of the owner of the tax profile. This is for your 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 by submitting an OTP (one-time pin) or verbally confirming approval from time to time.

Some eFiling 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?

As 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 eFiling profile. By transferring (“lending”) one of these tax types to a third party you give them a portal into your eFiling profile so they can perform the function you require them to. They do this via their 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 for overseeing that it has been done.

The representative is 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 that are not in business rescue or liquidation, the representative is the public officer of the company, which 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.

Tracy Venter

Tracy transitioned from industry to founding Import Export License in 2011, aiding importers and exporters with customs compliance. In 2014, she launched Trade Logistics, focusing on supporting startups and SMMEs in international trade. Since then, Tracy's team has assisted 35,000+ businesses, reaching 32,000 traders monthly through newsletters. She's contributed to publications like Entrepreneurs Magazine and SME Toolkit, spoken at trade events, and participated in customs forums. Import Export License helped with the pilot trial to launch customs' new online registration platform (RLA). Through Trade Logistics she has launched 3 online import-export training courses. She holds an Honours degree from Stellenbosch University and a Cum Laude Masters from Middlesex University. In her spare time, Tracy enjoys running, mountain biking, playing piano, and cherishing moments with her husband and four children.