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South Africa: Correction of disclosures on VAT returns

South Africa: Correction of disclosures on VAT returns

Value added tax (VAT) returns can be corrected in certain instances, with the filing of a “request for correction.” However, this process is not available in all instances.

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Disclosures made in a VAT return by a VAT vendor must be full and complete in all material respects. When a vendor becomes aware of any error or omission in a VAT return that was submitted to the South African Revenue Service (SARS), the vendor may file a “request for correction” via the SARS e-filing profile, in an effort to correct the VAT return for that specific tax period. Historically, such corrections were limited to instances when the error resulted in VAT due being under-declared or a refund due by SARS being overstated. A request for correction can also be filed when output tax is overstated.

However, a request for correction is not allowed to correct a VAT return in the following situations:

  • The error resulted from input tax being understated. In such circumstances, the input tax can be claimed in a subsequent tax period, provided it is claimed within the five-year prescription period.
  • The correction sought is in respect of a tax period dating back longer that five years.
  • The vendor is awaiting the outcome of an ongoing SARS audit, or the outcome in respect of documents and information already submitted following a request for verification by SARS.
  • A request for correction was successfully made and SARS issued a request for verification for the revised return and the vendor has submitted relevant documentation or information.
  • When an audit was completed or SARS issued an additional assessment in respect of the tax period.


KPMG observation

Submitting a corrected return could result in SARS issuing a verification notice—that must be responded to by providing the relevant requested information or documentation requested.

Penalties and interest will be levied if the net VAT liability was under-declared and the correction therefore effectively gives rise to a late payment. To mitigate the exposure to penalties and understatement penalties, it may be more appropriate to submit an application under the voluntary disclosure program.


Read a July 2020 report [PDF 142 KB] prepared by the KPMG member firm in South Africa

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