South African Institute of Professional Accountants
In his budget speech, the Minister of Finance again highlighted the fact that tax practitioners must now be members of one of the 11 professional bodies recognised by SARS in terms of the Tax Administration Act. The Minister cautioned taxpayers to use only tax practitioners that are registered by SARS, noting that some 15 000 tax practitioners are now registered with these bodies.
As one of these 11 professional bodies, the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA) has welcomed the government’s move to regulate the tax practitioner industry.
“Access to well-trained tax professionals with the highest standards of integrity is a prerequisite for a successful economy in the modern world. We believe that the industry itself is best placed to regulate itself, just as the legal profession has done for decades,” says Faith Ngwenya, Technical and Standards Executive at SAIPA. “We are happy to say that the marketplace has responded enthusiastically to this initiative.”
Tax practitioners are listening
SAIPA has experienced a dramatic increase of 82% in requests for member verification as tax practitioners. Ngwenya says this indicates that taxpayers are actively seeking registered tax practitioners, and are increasingly refusing to work with those that are not properly accredited with SARS through a professional body like SAIPA.
“SAIPA members have to meet certain criteria in terms of qualifications, skills and integrity, and must commit to continuous professional education. Importantly, we also have the power to discipline those members that are non-compliant,” says Ngwenya. “The benefits of dealing with a truly professional tax advisor have always been compelling, and the Act has had a beneficial effect in raising awareness of these benefits. Best of all, the increased activity of SAIPA members in the marketplace shows that business sees the value.”