SARS verifications, audits – when, why and what to do

Being selected for an audit and being selected for verification are two different processes.


Once you have submitted your return, it could be selected for verification.

A verification involves a comparison of the information per your return against the financial records and other supporting documents to ensure that the information completed on the return is correct.

When a taxpayer is selected for a verification, it is very important that your supporting documents are submitted timeously; failing which, SARS will disallow any credits or deductions that you have claimed in your return.

Common examples of supporting documents for individual, salaried taxpayers are: medical aid certificates, travel logbooks and retirement annuity contribution certificates.

We as your tax practitioner have access to your eFiling profile and usually submit the requested documents on your behalf.

Once you have submitted all the requested relevant material, the verification should be finalised within 30 to 60 business days.

Once the verification is finalised, one of the following can be expected:

Notification of the finalisation of the verification Where no further risks were identified and no finding was made
Notice of assessment of the revised assessment Where no further risks were identified but a finding was made
Referral for audit letter Where further risks were identified

If you have a refund due, the refund will not be paid out while the verification is in progress.


An audit is an examination of the financial records and supporting documents of the taxpayer to determine whether the taxpayer has correctly declared his/her tax position to SARS. SARS will generally ask questions relating to, for example, your rental property that forms part of your tax return. You will need to explain your circumstances to SARS and back up all your expense claims with invoices.

Any taxpayer can be selected by SARS for an audit on a random or cyclical basis.

It is, therefore, preferable to have all your invoices and supporting documents readily available before filing your return in case SARS selects your return for an audit.

The required relevant material will differ depending on the tax type and scope of the audit. SARS can also obtain relevant material from any third party.

If all supporting documents are valid and you can correctly answer SARS’ questions, there should be nothing to worry about if you are selected for an audit.

Once you have submitted all the requested relevant material, the audit should be finalised within 90 business days.

If you have a refund due, the refund will only be paid out after the audit has been finalised.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied upon as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)




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IC Marais

Professional experience:

IC Marais is a certified CA (SA) with public sector and private sector technical knowledge based on 5 years’ Public Sector accounting, auditing and financial management experience and 5 years audit, tax and accounting experience. Detailed knowledge of private and public sector accounting and auditing standards (GRAP, IPSAS, IFRS, IAS, ISA) and public sector financial legislation (MFMA, etc.)

He enjoys the outdoors, hunting and fishing.


Professional experience:

In 1995, Schalk started as a trainee at Warner and Newton (which became Moores Rowland in 1997 and then Mazars Moores Rowland in 2007) in Bloemfontein. In 1998, Schalk was appointed as manager at Moores Rowland, where he became a partner in 2003. Schalk received his Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Taxation in 2006 and in 2009 he received his Certificate in the Administration of Estates.


Professional experience:

Cedric started as a trainee at Warner and Newton (which became Moores Rowland in 1997 and Mazars Moores Rowland in 2007), Bloemfontein, in 1986. After completion of his articles, he joined the Special Investigations Division of the Department of Finance (SA Revenue Services) as a senior inspector from 1990 to 1991.


Professional experience:

Lucha started her career as a tax inspector at the Inland Revenue Department of New Zealand. After this she worked in commerce in Canada, Mexico and the United States.

On her return to South Africa, she completed her CA training contract with us and has been with Newtons ever since. She became a Partner in 2012.

Apart from her CA(SA) qualification she also holds a postgraduate certificate in Advanced Taxation (2005) and has the overall responsibility for training as our Training Officer.