What is a Tax Consultant?

A tax consultant is a person who advises their clients on how they can minimise their taxes lawfully.  These talented folk are also referred to as a tax advisors.  They are highly educated in the laws of tax and such related financial matters.  They keep up with the changing rules and regulations of SARS and tax matters.

Each client is unique so they need a custom-made strategy to help them reduce their taxes.  Tax consultants will consider their clients lifestyle, their needs and the use of elements that impact their tax.  For example the use of vehicles for business or personal purposes, home office expenses and even financial plans for the future.

Are they only for the wealthy?

No! These days more and more people are finding competent tax consultants to help them save not just hundreds but thousands of Rands.  In fact, they can actually save you more than they cost you.

Why Do I Need a Tax Consultant?

Have you got the time to do it yourself?

Tax issues are complicated! Preparing one’s tax can take some of us twice as long as it would others.  Using a tax consultant would save your precious time.  Do you really want to spend your Saturday morning trying to figure out the ins and outs of SARS rules and regulations?  A tax advisor can also guide you if you live overseas, run your own business, have an investment portfolio and more.  These specialists keep up with the economic, political and social elements that impact on tax laws.  It is their job to do it and they do it well.

Do these terms excite you?

If you are still not convinced perhaps these concepts might help you decide.  Would you like to spend your time focusing and deciphering relevant tax laws in a logical and comprehensible manner,  through practical and theoretical points of view? Do you like to spend your spare time reading up on tax law?  Interpreting tax formulas and its components?  Did you know that there is constructive receipt doctrine? Want to become well-versed in the rules for limitations of deductions?  Live for applying the rules for itemised deductions and the appropriate treatment thereof?  If the above questions aren’t for you, then perhaps it is time to hire a tax consultant but how can you find a good one?

tax advisor

How to Choose a Tax Advisor?

A tax advisor needs to be honest and ethical at the end of the day.  You need to trust them.  Listen to your gut and build a relationship with them.

Make sure they are qualified with good experience under their calculator.  You can ask for their certifications, affiliations and education. There are organisations like The SA Institute of Tax Professionals where tax professionals can register themselves and gain recognition.  Not just anybody can register.  There are certain requirements for membership.  For example, to register as an advisor they need to have SAQA designation at a master level, general level or technical level.  Each level speaks for levels of practical and academic experience in the tax world.  There is more information on their website.

Then ask them questions like how they will communicate with you and how often.  How will they be billing you and when.  Ask them how available they will be to meet with you to give you feedback.

Getting a referral is a good way but don’t stop there.  Go online and read their reviews and testimonials to get a broad picture.  Have a look at their competitors too to test the water.  Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses but be sure to find the right strengths and weaknesses for you and your circumstances.

We hope this has clarified what a tax consultant does and why you could need one.  Please comment below as we would love to have your input.