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SAIPA has multiple professional designations for you to choose from, but a student can feel overwhelmed when confronted with all the career options available to them. To give you a better idea of our qualifications we have summarised the differences between Accounting Technicians (SA), Professional Tax Specialists (SA), Professional Tax Practitioners (SA), and Professional Tax Technicians (SA).

Accounting Technicians (SA)

If you decide to be an Accounting Technician (SA), you will perform support functions for the Professional Accountant (SA). This includes preparing working papers, including working papers for tax returns and preparing financial reports. However, you cannot sign off financial statements. As an Accounting Technician (SA), you can also apply for the Professional Tax Technician (SA) or Professional Tax Practitioner (SA) designations.

Professional Tax Technician (SA)

Once you are a Professional Tax Technician (SA) you will be able to register with SARS as a practitioner in terms of the new Tax Administration Act, register individuals as taxpayers, prepare and file tax returns for individuals, perform VAT registrations, perform basic VAT returns and basic employee tax, do basic notice of objections where filling is done by the same practitioner based on the original filing date, perform all tax registrations, apply for TCCs and perform enquiries as support for Tax Professionals (SA).

For this designation, you will need a National Diploma in Taxation or you would need to pass the second year of a Commerce degree with taxation as a major and have passed Accounting 3. You will also need 18 Months or more of verifiable practical experience in a tax environment and to pass the CoTE Professional Tax Examination.

There is another route you can follow – the route of experience. For this, you will need four years of verifiable practical experience in a tax environment (and apply for the Recognition of Prior Learning RPL) and also to pass the CoTE Professional Tax Examination.

Professional Tax Practitioner (SA)

With this designation you will be able to register with SARS as a practitioner in terms of the new Tax Administration Act, register all tax types, prepare and file tax returns for individuals and all types of businesses, prepare and file employee returns, prepare and file VAT returns and perform all the services offered by a Professional Tax Technician (SA).

To qualify as a Professional Tax Practitioner (SA), you will need a 3-year Bachelor’s degree with tax as a major subject, at least Accounting 3 as a subject, 3 years of verifiable practical experience in a tax environment; and you will need to write and pass the CoTE Professional Tax Examination.

Professional Tax Specialist (SA)

With this designation, you will be able to register with SARS as a practitioner in terms of the new Tax Administration Act, perform all the services offered by a Professional Tax Practitioner (SA), be able to represent taxpayers in court, write tax opinions, and mediate tax disputes.

In order to qualify for the Professional Tax Specialist (SA) designation, you will need a post-graduate qualification in Taxation and at least three years’ experience in an advanced tax environment, or, if you are already a full SAIPA member, you will qualify with a relevant Master’s degree.

This is a great deal to think about, but you can contact SAIPA for any enquiries you may have about these designations. If you are currently a student, you can still join the SAIPA family. To find out more about our student benefits, visit our Student Member page.