Transfer Duty Receipts Are Now All Obtained By E-Filing

The South African Revenue Services are becoming more and more automated.This is illustrated by the fact that all applications for transfer duty receipts must now be done by way of E-Filing.

In the past transfer attorneys had the option of either applying manually or by way of E-Filing. Most of the legal firms which have specialised in conveyancing have in fact been using the previous E-Filing system for a long period of time.

The South African Revenue Services recently decided that it would only allow applications to be made by way of E-Filing and introduced an updated E-Filing system.

Unfortunately with the introduction of new systems there are often teething problems and the introduction of the new E-Filing Transfer Duty System was no exception. However the South African Revenue Services has a history of making sure that it remedies any defects and true to form SARS has taken the necessary steps to minimise any mistakes.

The new system became operational on the 3rd November 2012.  It ran alongside the old system but since the 12th January 2013 one can only use the new system as the old system has effectively been discontinued.

A number of new fields are included which have to be completed. These include the full names and personal tax number of the estate agent (and if there is more than one estate agent, each of the estate agents) involved in the transaction. As always the tax numbers of the buyers and property sellers are required but one can now instead disclose the annual income of the buyer or the seller if there is no tax number.  A new Voluntary Disclosure Program has also been inserted.

Whilst South African Revenue Services has always had the right to call for independent valuations of the property, it is now made clearer that South African Revenue Services can, and in some instances will call for two independent valuations on the property.

At present the new system is causing slight delays because of the fact that once the documents are submitted one has to wait for the South African Revenue Services to revert with any queries before one can take the next step.

As the transferring attorneys become more au fait with the new system, these delays will no doubt be reduced and we have no doubt that the South African Revenue Services will also make the system more efficient.

The important thing therefore is to ensure that one obtains the relevant names and tax numbers of ALL of the relevant parties including each of the estate agents involved and the buyer and the seller.  Although it is not necessarily compulsory, one can sometimes save time by obtaining two valuations for the property in advance.

Like all new innovations, everybody will adjust to the same shortly and the system should run smoothly.

(Chas Everitt would like thank Peter Dykes of Dykes Van Heerden Slabbert Hopkins Incorporated for this article.)

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