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The Commissioner for the South African Revenue Service vs. Airports Company for South Africa - (07 Oct 2022)

An objection is part of the pre-litigation administrative process and is not a pleading

Direct Taxation

The issues in present appeal were whether it was permissible to amend the grounds of objection against an additional assessment issued by the Appellant, the Commissioner for the South African Revenue Service (SARS), after the expiry of the periods prescribed in the tax court rules and whether such an order is appealable.

As neither the Act, nor the tax court rules, make provision for the amendment of an objection to an additional assessment, the taxpayer applied to the tax court, Johannesburg for leave to amend in terms of Uniform Rule 28(1), read with Rule 42(1). An objection is part of the pre-litigation administrative process and is not a pleading. It is also not a document filed in connection with judicial proceedings envisaged in terms of Uniform Rule 28(1). Furthermore, Rule 42(1) only comes into play, when the tax court rules do not make provision for a procedure in the tax court. Rule 42(1) does not apply to those procedures governed under Part B of the tax court rules, which constitute pre-litigation administrative procedures such as an objection to an assessment. Therefore, the tax court erred in granting leave to the taxpayer to amend its notice of objection in terms of Uniform Rule 28.

The effect of the amendment sought by the taxpayer would be to extend the period for the filing of an objection (or the filing of new grounds of objection) long after the peremptory periods prescribed in Section 104 of the TAA, read with Rule 7, have expired. The prescribed time periods provided for in the TAA, read with Rule 7, taken together with the ability of a taxpayer to secure an extension of time within the permitted parameters, achieves a fair balance between SARS and the taxpayer. To permit amendments to an objection would unjustifiably undermine the principles of certainty and finality, which underpin a revenue authority’s duty to collect taxes.


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