Often when selling or buying property, people forget the importance of making sure their tax is all in order, and this can cause unnecessary delays and frustration when it comes to the transfer process.
One of the details which a good estate agent should always investigate when dealing with a buyer or seller of a home is their standing with the South African Revenue Services.
Wayne Albutt, the Rawson Property Group’s Western Cape Sales Manager, says at a number of sales are delayed or even derailed by SARS because the seller or buyer may not have their tax affairs up to date.
“Quite frequently the agent or the bond originator will make sure that the buyer’s monthly pay slips, bank accounts and general credit details are in order and submitted in the required manner, but they will fail to investigate whether the buyer or seller has unpaid tax accounts,” he says.
This problem, says Albutt, may delay the whole process because the banks, in terms of the National Credit Act, are prohibited from lending to a client who is known to have possibly unspecified amounts of outstanding debt. In any case, he says, the banks will always look askance at someone who has run up debts, which he has not honoured.
Similarly if the seller has an unpaid tax debt, SARS is by law obliged to hold up the sale of his property until the debt is met.
“Provided the cash is available, putting matters right with SARS can usually be done within 24 to 36 hours and this is definitely one hurdle which every home buyer or seller should put right before going anywhere near the market,” says Albutt.