On 24 October 2016 SARS released a binding general ruling (BGR36), dealing with those conditions under which the Commissioner will allow a VAT vendor to use alternative documentary proof to substantiate the vendor’s entitlement to an input tax deduction. In order to obtain the Commissioner’s approval to use alternative documentary proof in substantiating a deduction, a VAT vendor must apply for a VAT ruling or VAT class ruling. In this regard, an application must be sent in writing by e-mail to VATRulings@sars.gov.za or by facsimile to 086 540 9390.

With regards to this VAT ruling, a vendor may only apply for approval to rely on alternative documentary proof, if the vendor (1) has sufficient proof that it made reasonable attempts to obtain the documentary proof required by the Commissioner, (2) was unable to obtain and maintain the documentation prescribed due to circumstances beyond the vendor’s control, and (3) if no other provision of the VAT Act allows for a deduction based on the particular document in the vendor’s possession. This BGR36 applies in respect of tax periods commencing on or after 1 April 2016 until it is withdrawn, amended or the relevant legislation is amended.

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