How to lodge a complaint with SARS

There are times when the call centre agent from SARS is unable to resolve your issue and you need to reach out to a more senior person at SARS.

You can request to speak to a team leader / operations manager or the branch / call centre manager and they should be able to assist you. Always remember to note down the case number for your call. If however, you're not satisfied with the outcome of the issue, you can lodge a formal complaint with an agent at a SARS branch or on eFiling (if you are registered).

It's important to note that the nature of your complaint must be due to dissatisfaction you have experienced in relation to a process (i.e. queries, returns or any service request) or a service experience that's not adequately resolved.

If however, you disagree with an assessment, you need to follow the dispute resolution process. If you disagree with a penalty, you need to follow the Request for Remission process.

Your complaint can be about any of the following:

  • Unresolved Services / operational Matter
  • Missing or lost documentation
  • Legal / policy
  • Employee behaviour / competence
  • Channel Experience / environment / technical issues
  • Quality and speed of service

These complaints are routed to the SARS Service Monitoring Office (SSMO) and they have 21 business days to resolve your problem.

If you're dissatisfied with the outcome from the SSMO, you can lodge a complaint with the Office of the Tax Ombudsman, who has 30 days to review your case and reply to you.

If you're unhappy with their answer and have now exhausted the SARS internal complaints process, you can lodge a complaint with the Public Protector.

Read below for some FAQ we have received about lodging complaints with SARS:

1. I've been waiting on a reply from SARS since July last year, and each time I call the call centre I am told that because the return is not a 2018 return, I have to wait till they get to it, how can I get an answer from SARS?

If you're registered on SARS eFiling, we suggest that you lodge a complaint with the SARS Service Monitoring Office who have 21 business days to get back to you. This might be another delay but at least you'll receive a reply.

2. I'm still waiting on SARS to finalise the audit on my 2018 return. Each time I call them they give me a new case number. They asked for more documents on my eFiling account, but I don’t have them. Can I lodge a complaint with the Tax Ombudsman?

You unfortunately can’t go straight to the Tax Ombud as you first need to lodge a complaint with the SARS Service Monitoring Office. The complaint however won’t receive any attention until you reply to the request SARS sent you. Please send them a sworn affidavit in which you explain why you are unable to send them the documents that they need to finalise your audit.

3. I owe SARS money, but I don’t know where the debt comes from. Can I lodge a complaint and ask SARS to explain to me what happened?

You should get an answer from the call centre as they have access to all your tax history on their system. Should they however not be able to help you, you can also contact the SARS debt management agent that was assigned to your case, they should have answers for you too. Unfortunately, lodging a complaint won’t remove the outstanding debt from your tax account.

4. I called the SARS call centre and the agent hung up in my ear after not being able to tell me why my refund has not been paid yet. Can I lodge a complaint against her? If yes, can you tell me how please?

If you are registered on SARS eFiling, you can lodge a complaint, but you need the case number for the call to be able to lodge the complaint. In eFiling, navigate to ‘Services’ and then ‘Complaints’ and then ‘New Complaints’.

5. I've been waiting for an answer on my appeal that I lodged with SARS in March this year already - can I complain about this?

SARS has 90 business days to work on your appeal, based on when you submitted your dispute. SARS is still therefore within their time period for seeing to your appeal so you unfortunately can’t lodge a complaint yet.

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