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A registered representative, or public officer as the old schoolers refer it to, serves as the representative for a company for tax purposes, and effectively acts as the face of and mouthpiece of the tax registered entity with all actions carried out in their capacity, considered to have been completed by the company.  A Registered Representative plays a pivotal role in ensuring the tax compliance continuation of a business; but what exactly are you signing up for?

As an agent for the company the Registered Representative is responsible for attending to the companies’ tax affairs and is therefore deemed answerable for the various duties that are required to be performed by the company.  Some of these duties include:

  • Submission of annual tax returns and provisional tax returns
  • Taxpayer and employer registrations
  • Submission of employees’ tax, monthly declarations and annual returns
  • Notification of tax registered detail changes
  • Acceptance of notices issued against the company by SARS
  • Ensuring payments are made for any tax liabilities due
  • Corresponding with SARS regarding any tax related queries

For all intents and purposes, a Registered Representative is the representative taxpayer of the company, and so, can be held personally liable for any outstanding tax debt of a company. Should a Registered Representative, however, be held personally liable for a company’s tax debt, they are entitled to recover the amount paid to SARS from the company. Alternatively, the Registered Representative is allowed to retain an amount equal to the amount of taxes paid from assets, including money, in their possession, or that will come into their possession at any stage.

The Tax Administration Act of 2011 stipulates that all companies are required to elect a Public Officer and the appointment of the officer must be done within  21 business days after a company begins to conduct business or acquires business premises in South Africa.  Failure to do so will result in the SARS Commissioner designating a director, member (in terms of Close Corporations) or a company secretary as the Public Officer or Registered Representative.

The responsibility imposed upon the Registered Representative is significant and a company must remain cognisant in its attempt to effectively empower the individual to ensure that these duties and responsibilities can be effectively fulfilled.

Enlisting the help of a qualified tax practitioner to guide you through the intricacies involved and to assist with compliance and submissions is a good idea to stay on top of things.

Author: Zulfah Mullins

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