Office of the Tax Ombud (OTO)
|Postal||Menlyn Corner, 2nd Floor, 87 Frikkie De Beer Street, Menlyn, Pretoria, 0181|
|Physical||Menlyn Corner, 2nd Floor, 87 Frikkie De Beer Street, Menlyn, Pretoria, 0181|
|Tel||012 431 9105 / 0800 662 837|
The Office of the Tax Ombud (OTO) was established in October 2013 to enhance the South African tax administration system. Until then, there was no independent redress channel for taxpayers who had exhausted the normal South African Revenue Service’s (SARS) complaints mechanisms. The Office is an independent and impartial channel for taxpayers unable to resolve a service, procedural or administrative complaint through the normal complaints management channels of SARS. The OTO is neither for SARS nor for the taxpayer but looks at the facts of the complaint concerned and, where possible, proposes a solution. Its work is based purely and simply on the facts, the laws of the land and, ultimately, on the Constitution. It is based on best international practice and was modelled on the Tax Ombud systems of Canada, the United States of America, and the United Kingdom. The OTO continuously seek to promote a healthy balance between SARS’s powers and duties and taxpayer rights and obligations. It crafted South Africa’s first-ever compilation of Taxpayers’ Rights, Entitlements and Obligations, providing taxpayers with information about their rights, entitlements, and obligations concerning their tax affairs and engagements with SARS and the OTO.
The Office works specifically with taxpayers who have been unable to resolve a service, procedural or administrative complaint through the normal complaints management channels of SARS. It does its utmost to assist these taxpayers to resolve their concerns speedily and amicably before it becomes necessary for them to consider entering into protracted court processes. In this way, the Office facilitates access to justice in South Africa and contributes to a culture of respect for the tax system and for taxpayers’ rights. The Tax Ombud plays a unique taxpayer complaints resolution role and aligns with the Public Protector. The Public Protector exists to ensure administrative justice by being a check on the exercise by government and its agencies of their authority, and on the other hand, the Tax Ombud exists to ensure administrative justice by being a check on the exercise of authority by SARS. The Tax Ombud is appointed by and reports directly to the Minister of Finance and may only be removed by the Minister. The term of Tax Ombud is five years and can be renewed. The institution is built on a structure supported by four pillars, namely the Operations, Communication and Outreach, Office Enablement, and Legal Services. Each is led and supported by hard-working and committed experts in their fields pursuing excellence to ensure delivery on the mandate.