Tax isn’t the easiest of subjects to navigate. Besides the long list of legalese to master, there’s the fact that tax legislation evolves year on year. What was applicable on your tax return 2 or 3 years ago, isn’t necessarily valid on your next, and what’s right this year, may change next season.

It’s unsurprising then, that when faced with the daunting task of filing their annual tax return, many people turn to a friend, colleague or trusted broker to help them out, in the hope that they’re more proficient. And while it may be safe to do so for advice on, say, an alternative medical aid option or a good restaurant for a good dinner, when it comes to tax, this can have serious legal consequences (for both parties) if things go wrong.

In July 2013 SARS took a firm stance on who was legally allowed to file tax returns on behalf of others and introduced stricter requirements for tax practitioner registration. Effectively this means that if anyone other than a Registered Tax Practitioner is filing your tax return on your behalf, the act is deemed illegal.