Tax Official

Tax officials work for the South African Revenue Services (SARS) and perform a variety of duties depending on the capacity in which they are employed.

The main directorates on Revenue Services are to perform the following tasks within the Department of Finance: collection of taxes, the development of a stable tax structure within the framework of economic circumstances, the creation of local services, as well as the determination of a policy whereby laws pertaining to tax income and other taxes can be interpreted.

Revenue Services offer their officials the opportunity to follow careers as revenue clerks or taxation officers. These are two different occupational classes, each with a distinctive character.

Revenue Clerk: This entails working in Registry and the Cash Office. Salary affairs are edited and enquiries dealt with. These tasks are more complicated than regular clerical work. Revenue clerks must have knowledge of the tax laws.

Tax officer: In many cases the tasks of the officers and clerks are similar. The following functions of the tax officer can be distinguished:

  • Assessment: Tax assessors must determine the taxable income of individuals and companies according to their tax returns. He must be resourceful and take the initiative in detecting cases where individuals and/or companies try to evade taxes. Parliamentary legislation and courts assist him.
  • Tax collection: The collection of, and accountability for taxes are sensitive matters. Collectors have wide powers, which demand judiciousness and prudence. The official must therefore enjoy working with people and money.
  • Auditing: In cases arousing suspicion, income and tax records are thoroughly inspected and audited to determine if and where tax is being evaded. To the thoroughly trained and experienced officials this type of work offers a challenge, because they have to test their ingenuity against that of attorneys in some cases.
  • Legal interpretation: A major part of these officials’ duties is concerned with the execution and interpretation of tax legislation. There are a number of areas in this field where persons who are interested in legal application will thrive.
  • Administration: To administer and manage tax collection successfully, Revenue Services require officials who are interested in the application of moral science.
  • Data processing: The Revenue Services is a leader in the field of data processing in South Africa and utilises sophisticated computer and telecommunication systems.
Note: For more information also refer to the alphabetical list of occupations to find the job descriptions of: Accountant, Chartered Accountant, Internal Auditor, Customs & Excise Officer.

Personal Requirements

  • investigative frame of mind
  • aptitude for figures
  • alert and observant
  • multilingual
  • reliable and totally honest
  • understanding of human behaviour
  • able to work effectively under pressure

How to Enter

School Subjects:

Compulsory subjects: Mathematics (only required for a BCom degree)

Recommended subjects:  Commercially related subjects such as Accounting, Business Studies, Economics 

Students must pass a National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course

In addition, each university has its own Admission Points Score (APS) requirements for each course. 


What to Study

Degree: BCom, BA, BAdmin with the following subjects: Accounting, Economics, Business Economics. Internal Auditing - Wits, UNISA. 
Taxation - Monash, UNISA

Diploma: Taxation - CPUT, CUT, DUT and VUT.

South African Revenue Service offers in-service training at six different centres throughout the country. Tests and examinations must be completed successfully. Certificates for each course are issued.

Note: To be appointed as a senior tax officer, the applicant must have a CA (SA) or equivalent qualification, plus completed clerkship, as prescribed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants.


  • SA Revenue Service
  • self-employment, after qualifying as a CA and gaining relevant experience in tax consulting, possibly with Management Consultants orAuditing Firms, you can set up your own practice as a tax consultant

Further Information

The various colleges, universities and universities of technology listed above

The South African Institute of Tax Practitioners
P O Box 73
Featherbrooke, 1746

South African Revenue Services (SARS)
The Appointment Section: Personnel
P O Box 402
Pretoria, 0001
Tel: (012) 315-5111

Getting Started

  • try to obtain vacation or part-time work with a tax consultant
  • arrange to speak to tax officials about this type of career and ask permission to observe them at work

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

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