Public Officer

The Tax Administration Act 28 of 2011 stipulates that all companies are required to appoint a Public Officer. Where there is a change of Public Officer, the company must notify SARS within 14 days of the change being implemented. Failure to do so may result in hefty penalties.

So, what is a public officer? A public officer serves as the representative taxpayer for a company, meaning that this person is, effectively, the face of the company for tax purposes. All actions carried out in this person’s capacity as a Public Officer are deemed to have been done by the company. 

Companies are required to appoint a Public Officer within one month after they begin to conduct business or acquire business premises in South Africa. Should your company fail to do this, the Commissioner will designate a director, member (in respect of close corporations) or the company secretary as Public Officer. In order to qualify as a Public Officer, one is required to be a natural person who is a South Africa resident. 

In a nutshell, the Public Officer is the person responsible for attending to the tax affairs of your company. He or she is therefore answerable for the activities and duties which are required to be performed by your company, including, amongst other things, the submission of annual tax returns and provisional tax returns, your registration as a taxpayer and as an employer, your submission of employees’ tax monthly declarations and annual returns, notification of address changes and acceptance of notices served against your company.

It is evident that the duties imposed upon the Public Officer are significant. 
With our talented group of professionals, informed by a prolific network of expertise and experience, Moore is well-positioned to fill the gap for your company by taking on this role. In the event that a Public Officer is not appointed, penalties will be incurred.
 
Firstly, any company which has not appointed a public officer or any other related duties required in terms of the Act, incurs a penalty for every day during which the default continues.

Secondly, under the new administrative penalty provisions (which came into effect on 1 January 2009), failure to appoint a public officer would also qualify as non-compliance. SARS may impose administrative penalties on non-compliance in the following circumstances: 

  • Failure to appoint a public officer
  • Failure to notify the SARS of a change of public officer

This penalty will be calculated based on a penalty table according to the assessed loss/taxable income for the year preceding imposition of the penalty.

The role played by the Public Officer is clearly an important one and should not be left to chance. As your Public Officer, Moore will ensure that the negative consequences of potential non-compliance are avoided and that the submission and reporting back on all necessary procedures and documentation becomes as pain-free a process for you as possible.