||For an effective, fair, just and equitable tax system to be established, certain fundamental principles have to be enforced to ultimately achieve a balance between government interests and taxpayers’ interests. The government is conferred with the power to tax which is derived from the Constitution. At first glance the government’s power to tax seems wide, but upon an analysis of the Constitution, one can note that the government’s power to tax is limited by certain structural, procedural and substantive limitations. By way of the Bill of Rights, the Constitution confers taxpayers with numerous rights which serve as the substantive limitations to the government’s power to tax. One of these fundamental taxpayers’ rights is the right of just administrative action, which is the sole focus of this dissertation. A right without a remedy to enforce same is of no consequence, and therefore the available remedy analysed is the remedy of judicial review which is regulated by the Constitution read together with PAJA and the Constitutional common law principles. The executive authority to tax vests in SARS, being an organ of state, which is headed by CSARS. Empowering legislation confers SARS, CSARS and other delegated SARS officials with the power to take decisions/exercise discretions. There are three types of empowering provisions which are differentiated, based on whether the remedy of objection and appeal is available to the taxpayer. Despite the availability of the remedy of objection and appeal, most decisions taken/discretions exercised by SARS and its delegated officials may amount to administrative action. The question which arises is whether taxpayers are equipped with a right and remedy to protect their interests from unlawful, unreasonable, and procedurally unfair exercise of such administrative action. S33 of the Constitution confers taxpayers with the fundamental right of just administrative action, and to enforce this right, taxpayers would have to implement the remedy of judicial review. The mere availability of a right and remedy does not provide taxpayers with protection; thus in order for the right and remedy to provide taxpayers with protection against the administrative action taken by SARS and its delegated officials, taxpayers would have to prove that the right and remedy is applicable and enforceable in the circumstances. The aim of this dissertation is to determine whether the right of just administrative action and the remedy of judicial review is applicable and enforceable in the tax arena. For the right and remedy to be applicable and enforceable, certain substantive and procedural requirements must be satisfied, and therefore those requirements are analysed in the tax arena in this dissertation. The substantive requirements which need be complied with are: (a) the administrator must be subject to the provisions of PAJA; (b) the conduct of the administrator must constitute “administrative action” as defined in PAJA; (c) the “administrative action” must materially and adversely affect taxpayer’s rights or legitimate expectations and have a “direct, external legal effect”; and (d), the “administrative action” must be found not be “lawful, reasonable and procedurally fair”, and if so, a ground as contemplated in s6 of PAJA must be applicable. The procedural requirements which needs be complied with are: (a) locus standi to institute judicial review proceedings; (b) time limitations in which judicial review proceedings must commence; (c) the exhaustion of all available internal remedies prior to the commencement of judicial review proceedings (unless there are exceptional circumstances); (d) that Rules regulating proceedings in terms of PAJA be established and determination of such Rules which will regulate judicial review proceedings until new Rules are promulgated. If, in the circumstances, the taxpayer can prove that he or she complies with all substantive and procedural requirements, then the right of just administrative action and remedy of judicial review is applicable and enforceable. It then needs to be established which forum would have the necessary jurisdiction to adjudicate upon the remedy of judicial review in the tax arena. There are two relevant Courts, namely the Tax Court and the High Court. The Tax Court has been established to adjudicate upon tax-related matters, whereas the High Court has inherent jurisdiction. It has been determined that in terms of the Constitution read together with PAJA, only a High Court or court with similar status may adjudicate upon judicial review. The Tax Court is a creature of statute and it has been held that the Tax Court does not have a similar status as the High Court. Case law has, however, previously held that the Tax Court has jurisdiction to review administrative action by SARS and its delegated officials. The leading case in this regard was, however, adjudicated upon in 1985, prior to the Constitution and PAJA having been promulgated. It therefore seems that the case law should be re-evaluated in light of the current Constitutional dispensation in which the Constitution is the supreme law. Finally, this dissertation provides a concise analysis of the powers which the forum having jurisdiction to adjudicate upon judicial review has to make orders. It is prudent to emphasise that this dissertation focuses on the position prior to 1 October 2012. On 1 October 2012 the Tax Administration Act 28 of 2011 (the TAA) came into force and effect. The TAA is relevant to some of the issues discussed in this dissertation. Where the TAA influences the issues, mention is made of the provisions of the TAA, but these are not discussed. Therefore a recommendation for further research is that this dissertation be re-evaluated in light of the provisions of the TAA. The most relevant provisions which the TAA caters for, which may influence the topic of this dissertation, is the establishment of the Tax Ombud and the conferring of a limited remedy of review upon SARS and its delegated officials, in addition to the remedy of objection and appeal.
||Van Niekerk, A 2013, “Reviewing administrative action by SARS, the commissioner and other delegated SARS officials”. , LLM dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://hdl.handle.net/2263/27418 >