Here's what you do if you owe SARS money. Picture: Pixaby.

Here’s what you do if you owe SARS money. Picture: Pixaby.

Unhappy with your tax return? Here’s how you can lodge a COMPLAINT

If you’re unhappy with your tax return, the Office of the Tax Ombud (OTO) is here to help.

Here's what you do if you owe SARS money. Picture: Pixaby.

Here’s what you do if you owe SARS money. Picture: Pixaby.

With the 2023 tax season in full swing as of last Friday (7 July 2023), if you’re unhappy with your tax return and feel you want to lodge a complaint, help is at hand.

ALSO READ: 2023 Filing is OPEN: Here are 8 tips to help with your tax return

The official recourse for South African taxpayers with complaints to SARS is through the Office of the Tax Ombud (OTO). Here’s what you’ll need and how it works.


The OTO’s website insists the organisation is independent and impartial, and “Is committed to helping improve the country’s tax administration by promoting a healthy balance between taxpayers’ rights and obligations.”

ALSO READ: TAX RELIEF is at hand for embattled taxpayers in 2023

The OTO also insists that all information and communication is treated in strict confidence and will not impact future dealings with SARS. If you are unhappy with your tax return here’s what you do …


  • Email to receive a complaint form.
  • You can also telephone 0800 662 837.
  • Post a letter to PO Box 12314, Hatfield, 0028.
  • Or visit in person at Menlyn Corner, 2nd Floor, 87 Frikkie de Beer Street, Menlyn, Pretoria.

To complete the complaint form correctly you will need to:

  • Document the situation of your complaint in chronological order including all case numbers relevant to the complaint from SARS and attach all supporting documents.
  • Make sure to use the relevant tax reference number.
  • Indicate clearly the tax period of your complaint (ie. 2023) and your desired outcome of the complaint.
  • Once the complaint form is received and captured, the OTO will issue a letter of acknowledgement.

The OTO will then assess the validity of the complaint and recommend a course of action.
If you’re unhappy with your tax return but insufficient evidence is provided with your complaint, the OTO may terminate your matter or give you another opportunity to provide evidence.


If you have a representative working on your behalf, the complainant must submit the following:

  • A power of attorney form, along with certified ID copies of the complainant and the representative.
  • Download a Power of Attorney Form HERE.


Unhappy with your tax return
Good news. If you’re unhappy with your tax return, help is at hand. Picture: FIle.

The OTO will investigate the matter and see if the complainant has exhausted the SARS complaints mechanism. The OTO will also verify if any limitations apply and/or if the complaint is valid.

ALSO READ: WHAT TO DO if you receive a SARS auto assessment in 2023

If the matter is within the OTO mandate, and it is found there is a service, procedural or administrative failure from SARS, the OTO will recommend to SARS how to remedy the situation. A letter of acceptance would be sent back to you.

If the OTO rejects the case, a letter of outcome will be sent to the complainant with the reasoning thereof.