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When attempting various functions on eFiling, such as applying for a customs code or trying to get an Advanced Payment Notification number (APN), encountering a merge error can be a frustrating obstacle. But what exactly is a merge error, and how can you navigate it effectively? Let’s delve into the intricacies of merge errors and explore the steps to resolve them.

What is a merge error?

According to SARS (South African Revenue Service), merge errors may stem from incorrect or mismatching information in one or more of the taxpayer’s tax types. A tax type is a SARS product such as income tax, PAYE, VAT, UIF, customs, etc. Below is a list of some of the common reasons why a merge error can occur:

  • Lack of a registered SARS representative on a specific tax type or a mismatch of the SARS registered representatives’ details on the different tax types. The SARS registered representative’s contact details on all tax types must match.
  • Mismatching or incorrect taxpayer information across the tax types. This includes the taxpayer’s name, registration or ID number, address, and contact information. 
  • Incorrect or mismatching bank details across the payer’s tax types, and inability to verify bank details.

Resolving merge errors

The standard rule will be to update all the tax types before the merge can be successfully submitted on e-filing. However, the Merge is not always successful on eFiling even if you have updated the necessary information. SARS offers several avenues to address merge issues:

Option 1: Book an appointment on SARS Home | South African Revenue Service:

The following supporting documents are required for merging profiles, updating profiles, or appointment of Public Officers via virtual appointments:

  • Business registration documents – that reflect all the members
  • Proof of address in the name of the company – not older than three months
  • Bank confirmation letter – not older than three months
  • Resolution letter appointing the public officer, signed by all members and accepted by the appointed Public Officer (only if the public officer has not yet been appointed)
  • Proof of address for Public Officer – in the name of Public Officer – not older than three months
  • Certified copies of IDs for all members and Public Officer
  • “Selfie” of Public Officer, holding their ID with a note stating: ‘update my details

Should the Public Officer or the company NOT have any proof of address in their name then the Confirmation of Residential/Business Address by Third Party (CRA01) form can be completed by a third party with their proof of address for the Public Officer. The Public Officer can then complete the CRA01 for the company with her/his proof of address.

Option 2: Visit a SARS branch with the above-supporting documents and ask them to perform the merge for you. More than one visit to the branch may be required as a merge error may not always be fixed the first time around and may need to be escalated. 

Option 3: Employ the services of third-party providers, such as your accountant or customs consultant, to do this for you. 

Import Export License offers the merge service at an additional fee for all our customs clients in conjunction with another customs product. Due to the complexity involved we do not offer this service as a standalone product. Our accountant has to make an appointment and go into the SARS branch to resolve the merge error and submit the required documentation. Some merge errors are easy to pick up and are rectified in no time. Whereas, other merge errors can be very complicated and technical and may take longer to resolve. Our process takes an estimated 21 working days.

About the author

Telana Swart

Telana is a customs consultant at Import Export License. She has many years of experience with CIPC and SARS secretarial work.