South African Revenue Services (SARS) has implemented new fraud prevention procedures and processes regarding the way in which taxpayers’ banking detail changes will be implemented.
“From now on, any changes to banking details will be verified before an individual or company banking profile can be updated and if any refunds are due, these will only be processed after the receipt and verification of the new banking details,” says Grant Lloyd, MD of payroll and HR software developer Softline Pastel Payroll, part of the Softline and Sage Group.
“The new procedures will improve security and reduce fraud. Banking details can be changed in person at any SARS branch or the change can be made when an individual Income Tax return is submitted. Supporting documents must be provided.”
As part of the general SARS encouragement of electronic submissions, banking details can also be changed via the SARS e-Filing system when submitting an ITR12 Individual Income Tax return, but SARS may still ask the taxpayer to go to a branch to verify the change.
Where two taxpayers hold a joint bank account, both will be required to go to a SARS branch in person so that the details of both individuals can be confirmed before any change to banking details can be accepted.
The documents required include an original identity document or passport or an affidavit to justify the absence of an ID document/passport, together with a temporary ID document or passport. Copies of ID documents or passports must be certified by a Commissioner of Oaths.
Lloyd adds that SARS also requires an original stamped bank statement not more than three months old that confirms the account holder’s name, account number, account type and branch code.
Where a taxpayer may have opened a new bank account and cannot produce a bank statement, an original letter from the bank concerned on its formal letterhead with a bank stamp, giving the date the account was opened, will be accepted by SARS.
Acceptable proof of residential address includes a utility account such as rates and taxes, water or electricity, a student fee account, a co-op statement (farmers), a medical aid statement, a mortgage statement or a telephone account.
These must be less than three months old and in the case of a mortgage statement, less than six months. Other acceptable documents include government issued documents such as motor vehicle licences, court orders or subpoenas, insurance and investment documents and formal lease agreements among others.
“Companies, close corporations and partnerships changing bank account details must also present supporting documentation in person by the company’s formal representative. Required documents include certificate of incorporation (CM1) for a public or private company, a founding statement and certificate of incorporation for a close corporation and a partnership agreement in the case of a partnership.
“An original ID document/passport is also required, and in the absence of these, an affidavit to justify the absence of an ID document or passport  together with a temporary ID or passport or affidavit or a certified copy of an individual, a partner or an entity representative.”
Lloyd adds that other documentation is required for non-resident, subsidiary or holding companies. Non-resident companies require indemnity from VAT forms, articles of memorandum, of association or other similar document indicating the country of issue, a letter of appointment of the representative vendor and a certified copy of the ID of the authorised signatory on the nominated bank account.
A subsidiary or holding company as defined in section one of the Companies Act (1973), changing its bank account needs to present the following documents to SARS – VAT indemnity, letter from the public officer confirming the company structure and a certified ID of the authorised signatory of the nominated bank account.
Other requirements and measures are in place for deceased estates, incapacitated or terminally ill taxpayers, imprisoned taxpayers, non-resident taxpayers and minor children.