How to navigate systemic issues identified by the Office of the Tax Ombud

Date: Jun 20, 2023 - Jun 20, 2023

CPD hours: 1 Hours

Time: 13:00 - 14:00

Event Type: Webinar

Presenter: Gert van Heerden
Presenter: Theo Burrows

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) is required to provide fair and equitable taxation services, and the Office of the Tax Ombud (OTO) makes sure of this. It provides taxpayers with a cost-free, impartial means of airing their grievances and conducts investigations to arrive at a fair resolution.


A tax practitioner engages on a daily basis with SARS on a myriad of tax matters ranging from  mundane tasks such as submitting tax returns to tackling complex tax assessment disputes and negotiating tax compromises.

SARS has been digitalising its operations, leaving tax practitioners with a mixed bag of experiences. Their challenge is to navigate this new terrain while having reservations about the success of the digital transformation.

During the webinar we will shine light on what systemic issues are in the context of the Office of the Tax Ombud (OTO), and the  impact of past systemic investigations on SARS’ operations. It will also inform tax practitioners of the role they play in the OTO's investigations into systemic issues. Tax practitioners will be better equipped to deal with day-to-day challenges when engaging with SARS.

Course content

  • What are systemic issues in the context of the OTO?

  • What value does investigations into systemic issues add to the tax system and specifically to the day to day activities of tax practitioners?

    • The preventative nature of recommendations coming out of investigations.

    • Education and awareness with focus on the investigation into PAYE statements of account.

  • Previous investigations and the impact they have had on:

    • Delayed refunds;

    • Dispute resolution;

      • Beneficial changes to the dispute resolution rules for taxpayers;

      • Feedback on recent enhancements that resulted in a more efficient administration of disputes.

  • What is the tax practitioner’s role in the OTO’s investigations into systemic issues?

Competencies developed in this webinar

  • Understand what systemic issues are in the context of the OTO;

  • Understand the value of systemic investigations in the tax system;

  • Recognise the impact of previous systemic investigations on SARS’ operations;

  • Understand the role tax practitioners play in systemic problem investigations.


Gert van Heerden

Acting CEO: Office of the Tax Ombud

His position is Senior Manager: Legal Services and Systemic Investigations
BCom, LLB, LLM from NWU

After completing his articles and being admitted as an attorney in 2008, Gert joined SARS as a legal advisor in the Legal Delivery and Support Department for the Gauteng Central Region. In 2010, he was appointed as the dedicated legal specialist for the High Complex Debt Team based at Megawatt Park in Sunninghill. In May 2012, Gert was appointed as manager of the Legal Delivery and Support Department in Gauteng Central.

In 2014, he was appointed as senior manager in the legal department of Afrocentric Health (Pty) Ltd, a position he held until he joined the Office of the Tax Ombud in May 2015. His role is to assist the Office’s internal and external stakeholders with all legal issues, from interpreting legislation to drafting and vetting legal documents.

His main goal is to assist in building the Office into an impartial entity with a reputation as a trustworthy and effective organisation that will inspire taxpayer confidence in the tax system.

Theo Burrows

The Tax Faculty: Technical Advisor

Theo Burrows is a seasoned Tax Practitioner with over 30 years of experience in the corporate, non-profit, and small business sectors. In addition to being a practising independent tax practitioner, he serves the tax community as a technical advisor for The Tax Faculty.

The combination of ongoing tax education and practical experience enables him to competently address more complex tax issues of both individuals and organisations. He draws on all these skills and combines them with in-depth knowledge and understanding of the tax environment to provide tax advisory services to both taxpayers and tax practitioners.


This event and successful completion of the online assessment will secure 1-hour verifiable output Tax CPD points.

Event Investment

Complimentary access.

Payments and cancellations

  • All payments must be made by EFT or by credit card, at least three working days before commencement of an event.
  • Kindly note that should payment not be received two days after the event, legal action will be taken.
  • Proof of payment will be requested at registration if payment does not reflect in The Tax Faculty’s bank account.
  • Only written notice of cancellation will be recognized.
  • Conditions:
    • If the cancellation occurs more than four working days prior to the event no cancellation fee will be charged.
    • If the cancellation occurs less than four working days prior to the event, a 100% cancellation fee will apply.
  • Delegates who book and fail to attend will be liable for the full event fee.
  • The Tax Faculty’s liability in the case of an event being cancelled will be limited to a refund or credit of the event fee.
  • Please click here for the full terms and conditions.


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