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South Africa: Changes to tax clearance certificate process

South Africa: Tax clearance certificate process

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) announced it will no longer be issuing printed (hardcopy) tax clearance certificates.

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Beginning 25 October 2019, SARS will replace the printed certificates with an electronic tax compliance status system.

Currently, SARS issues taxpayers (both individuals and corporations) with tax clearance certificates, provided that the taxpayer’s tax affairs are in order at the time when the taxpayer applies for the tax clearance certificate. Currently, a tax clearance certificate would be printed and would be valid for 12 months from the date of issuance. 

New process

Beginning 25 October 2019, SARS will replace the tax clearance certificates function with the tax compliance status system. Taxpayers will no longer be able to print tax clearance certificates because they will have to use their tax clearance certificates PIN in order to share their tax compliance status electronically with third parties. This change would mean that real-time tax compliance status would be generated.

The electronic tax clearance certificates PIN would allow a taxpayer to grant authority to any third party (an organisation or government department) to view their tax compliance status online via eFiling by providing them with a PIN. The third party then would be presented with the taxpayer's overall tax compliance status as at the date and time it is viewed, instead of their status as it was at the date when the tax clearance certificate PIN was provided to them.

Tax clearance certificates will be declined if there is non-compliance in relation to any specific area of tax (including employees’ tax or value added tax).


Read a September 2019 report [PDF 87 KB] prepared by the KPMG member firm in South Africa

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