The South African Revenue Service (Sars) announced in May that it will only recognise five professional tax bodies in terms of an amendment to the 2011 Tax Administration Act (TAA).
This means that nearly 17 000 tax practitioners must register with these bodies.
The registration requirements include having to comply with professional examinations and ultimately register with a recognised controlling body and Sars before July 1.
“The implications of this new legislation for the general taxpayer are twofold,” said Stiaan Klue, chief executive of the South African Institute of Tax Practitioners (SAIT).
“On the positive side, taxpayers will now enjoy more protection as rogue practitioners will be forced out of the system.
"However, as the first deadline on July 7 for monthly pay-as-you-earn tax returns looms ahead, there is a danger that if the tax practitioner you use is not registered, they will be unable to file your return and thereby expose you to harsh administrative penalties and incurred interest on outstanding returns,” warned Klue.
Ronel de Kock, Head of Education at SAIT, said that most tax practitioners only became recently aware of the deadline.
SAIT is one of the controlling bodies recognised by Sars along with the Institute of Accounting and Commerce (IAC), the South African Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (Icsa), the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica) and the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (Saipa).
Failure to register with one of these recognised bodies by July 1 could result in the tax practitioner facing criminal sanctions.