SAIPA Launches New Centre of Tax Excellence


The South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA) has launched  the Centre of Tax Excellence (CoTE). The new CoTE aims to provide a dedicated tax service centre to existing members as well as new members. The CoTE will award an affiliate membership rolled out in three specific tax designations. “The Tax Administration Amendment Bill will make it necessary for tax practitioners to join a professional body, and SAIPA is moving proactively to provide a compelling value proposition, to qualifying people that would otherwise not meet the full SAIPA membership requirements” says Faith Ngwenya, Technical and Standards Executive at SAIPA. “The move to regulate the tax industry must be welcomed as a way to professionalise it, and tax practitioners will find that joining SAIPA has tremendous advantages.”

Key benefits include continuous professional development specific to tax and professional indemnity insurance designed specifically for the tax industry. The SAIPA  Centre of Tax Excellence (CoTE) also offers an online tax knowledge base and a technical tax contact centre for individual advice. Tax designated members will have access to an in-depth tax resource that will equip them with knowledge and skills to better execute their functions.

SAIPA is offering three professional tax designations:

  • Professional Tax Technician. This designation is aimed at tax practitioners with a National Diploma in Taxation or a second year pass in a commerce degree (with Financial Accounting II) and at least 18 months of practical training/ experience in a tax environment. Eligible candidates will be required to write a SAIPA tax examination.
  • Professional Tax Practitioner. Qualification for this designation requires candidates to be in possession of a relevant three year degree with Taxation as a major, practical experience within a tax environment as well as writing a Tax specific professional examinations. Current members of SAIPA can apply to be awarded a tax designation which will be added to their professional accountant (SA) designation if they so wish.
  • Professional Tax Specialist. To be awarded this designation candidates would be in possession of a post graduate degree in Taxation and at least three years experience in the tax environment. No examination is required.

When asked if SAIPA’s tax designations only recognises a tertiary qualification as a prerequisite, Ngwenya responded by indicating that SAIPA has a Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) policy which provides for the screening of candidates that are not in possession of a formal university qualification but have many years of relevant experience within a specific field. The RPL committee will thoughroughly screen the portfolio of evidence required from candidates requesting recognition in this way and if the evidence is sufficient candidates will be required to write the examination relevant to the professional designation sought.  “I urge tax practitioners to see the need to join a professional body as a very positive move that has the potential to help them take their businesses to the next level. Accreditation by SAIPA increases one’s marketability enormously; it also opens up a whole new universe of professional training and access to expert help and advice,” Ngwenya concludes.