How to deal with a complaint against SARS?

Global Publication January 19, 2017

SARS has recently revamped their complaints facility to modernise the system and improve the way that taxpayer complaints are lodged, tracked and resolved. SARS formal complaints resolution mechanism is called the Complaints Management Office (CMO). The CMO allows a taxpayer to lodge a complaint via the following channels:

  • Visiting a SARS branch

  • By calling the SARS CMO on 0860 12 12 16, or

  • Electronically on eFiling

To access the complaints form on eFiling-

  • log in,

  • navigate to the Services tab,

  • select the Complaints option, and

  • complete the CM01 form.

The CM01 form is interactive and will customise as it is filled in. By submitting a complaint via eFiling, the taxpayer has an audit trail of what the issue is and how it was resolved, and the ability to track progress on the case.

It is important to understand that the CMO deals with complaints regarding a process or a service experience that is not adequately resolved. A substantive disagreement with an assessment, or an amount of interest and penalties levied for example is not a complaint and this will not be dealt with by the CMO. In such a case, the taxpayer must follow the normal dispute process of objection and appeal.

The following is a list of complaint categories, with examples, provided by SARS illustrating the types of complaints that the CMO will deal with:

SARS complaint categories

 1  Legal/Policy  For example, debit cards not accepted for payments.
 2  Employee behaviour/Competence  For example, agent X was rude, or agent did not know how to assist me.
 3  Channel experience/environment/technical issues  For example, contact centre is very slow to answer, or there is no parking at branch X.
 4  Quality and speed of service*  For example, incorrect resolution of request, or it took 6 months to process my banking detail change
 5  Unresolved service/operational matter*  For example, turn-around-time exceeded and my return has not yet been processed
 6  Missing or lost documentation*  For example, I have submitted my return, but SARS cannot find it.

 * A taxpayer will need a case number for the last three categories. In other words, the complaint will only be accepted if there is already a case logged and the case number is inserted on the form.

SARS has undertaken to resolve a complaint within 21 days of the complaint being lodged. If the complaint is not dealt with in this time, or the taxpayer is not satisfied with the manner in which SARS addressed the complaint, the next step would be to raise the case with the Tax Ombud.

The Tax Ombud’s office will be considered in our next article to be published in a fortnight.


Director: Norton Rose Fulbright Tax Services (Pty

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