As much as we all enjoy convenience, there are simply no shortcuts to quality and compliance, especially when working with other people’s taxes. That’s why the criteria for obtaining a SAIPA tax practitioner designation are so stringent.
It provides a sense of pride for those who have earned one of the prestigious designations, and taxpayers a measure of assurance that their affairs are in highly capable hands when they use the services of a SAIPA Professional Tax Specialist (SA), Professional Tax Practitioner (SA) or Professional Tax Technician (SA).
There are generally five questions taxpayers want answered before they decide on who they’re going to trust with their taxes.
Is the tax practitioner credible?
Tax practitioners with a SAIPA designation benefit from the Institute’s reputation and professional history that been built in almost 40 years. Its institutional knowledge and experience inform the way that SAIPA designs its application, approval, support and disciplinary processes. Tax practitioners with a SAIPA designation are allowed to use the SAIPA Corporate Identity on their own stationary as a symbol of their own verified knowledge and experience.
SAIPA-registered tax practitioners must also submit an annual declaration to show that they are fit to practice. If any information is falsified, tax practitioners are immediately removed from the SAIPA RCB list and face possible prosecution from SARS.
In addition to the credibility provided by the use of the SAIPA logo, any taxpayer can verify whether a SAIPA-registered practitioner is in good standing i.e. up to date with all minimum professional development and registration requirements.
What will happen if the tax practitioner gets it wrong?
As tax is a complex matter, genuine mistakes sometimes happen. In these rare cases, tax practitioners with a SAIPA designation will be covered for professional negligence claims by their Professional Indemnity insurance that forms part of the standard benefit of being a SAIPA member.
Can the tax practitioner do more than just taxes?
Tax practitioners with a SAIPA designation can also apply to the Financial Sector Conduct Authority for recognition as a compliance officer and financial services advisor in terms of the FAIS Act.
Does the tax practitioner have a reliable support network?
Access to a technical support on all your tax queries and representation at SARS as a key stakeholder. You also have access to or inhouse library in any of our tax publications. Telephonic and email support by the SAIPA Centre of Tax Excellence (CoTE) service centre is also available for technical queries and questions.
SAIPA-registered tax practitioners also have support outside South African borders through access to the reciprocal benefits of national and international professional bodies, including the CPA in Ireland, IPA in Australia, CFA in Namibia, SIPA in Russia, IFA in the United Kingdom, and ANAN in Nigeria.
How does the tax practitioner stay up to date with all changes?
SAIPA is one of the first registered Recognised Controlling Bodies by SARS in terms of the Tax administration Act. As a condition to retain their designation, all tax practitioners with a SAIPA designation are required to complete a specified amount of Continued Professional Development activities every year to ensure that they stay up to date with fast-changing legislation.
Becoming a trusted tax practitioner is not for those looking for an easy “in” to a profession that is one of the cornerstones of a thriving economy. Tax practitioners must weigh up the longer term pros and cons of earning a specific professional designation … and be wary of shiny shortcuts.
MEDIA CONTACT: Stephné du Toit, 084 587 9933, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.atthatpoint.co.za
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