A number of taxpayers has experienced challenges in the payment of their refunds and received requests to visit a SARS branch in order for their refund to be finalised.

During the early phases of the 2016 filing season it was determined that there were a number of cases where criminal activity resulted in profiles being maliciously used and bank details being changed.

In order to try and circumvent the above, SARS has stopped refunds to accounts matching criteria similar to those cases where there is known criminal activity. This process is referred to as a ‘Stopper’ by the consultants when enquiring about the tax refunds. SARS then requests that bank accounts be validated at a SARS branch. The unfortunate result of this process is that legitimate refunds are being held back in these circumstances.

It is understood that taxpayers have been inconvenienced with this process. SARS had to proceed accordingly in order to prevent possible fraud and is working with various financial institutions to determine other ways to prevent this fraud.