A Tax Clearance Certificate is a document declaring that your business has no outstanding tax at SARS. This verifies that your business is in good standing and it has no unpaid tax that’s yet to be settled with the government.
To be tax compliant, you must pass the following criteria:
- You don’t have outstanding tax returns
- You don’t owe any money to SARS unless otherwise specified
- You’re liable for all tax products registered
- Registered particulars are all up to date
- All registered tax reference numbers are declared
Back then, tax clearance certificates were printed and sent to requesters. This practice was halted on 2 November 2019 to give way to the SARS eFiling system which is more convenient and practical.
The South African Revenue Service (SARS) is the only authorized entity allowed to issue Tax Clearance Certificates.
There are 3 ways to apply for a Tax Clearance Certificate:
- The first one is by going to the SARS eFiling portal and going through the application process on your own. This can be time-consuming because you must collate several documents and scan them for submission.
- The second method is by going to a SARS branch and have their agents assist you through the application process. A face-to-face conversation with authorized personnel is more reassuring and you can ask questions about the filing process.
- The last option is to let a professional assist you. This is the most convenient and hassle-free way to apply for a tax clearance certificate. Looking for a part-time tax accountant is a good start as many tax agencies in South Africa offer this kind of service.
If you choose to apply for a tax clearance certificate by yourself, access the SARS eFiling portal and follow the steps below:
- Select the type of Tax Compliance Status Request you want to apply for among the following options:
- Good standing
- Foreign investment allowance
- Complete the form and submit it to SARS. A representative can request a tax clearance certificate on your behalf, but they’ll have to fill in your personal details to make the request.After submission, wait for it to be processed by the agency. Results are often released within minutes.
- Once your request has been approved, you’ll be provided with a tax compliance status PIN. You can either view the PIN on the dashboard of your eFiling account or have it sent through SMS. You can also print a hardcopy of the PIN in the form of a TCS result letter.A unique PIN is issued for each request. The request is completely free of charge.
The taxpayer compliance status is updated in real-time and changes according to the taxpayer’s compliance with tax requirements.
As a taxpayer, you must send your TCS PIN to the authorized third-party entity to let them verify your compliance status. The third-party organization will be able to access your compliance status but not any other personal information irrelevant to what they need.
For any queries regarding TCCs, contact SARS at 0800 00 7277.