In a legal victory that could save companies time and possibly money, the high court in Pretoria affirmed Absa’s contention that it can bypass a mandated "protracted slog" through a dispute resolution mechanism to resolve a difference with the SA Revenue Service (Sars).Absa took two of the tax agency’s decisions directly on review before the North Gauteng High Court, arguing that Sars made errors in the application of the law when it accused it of being party to an impermissible tax avoidance scheme and issued it with an assessment of the tax liability arising from it. The victory could herald a change in how companies and the broader public approach tax-related disputes, especially if their gripes are rooted in the application of the law. Under tax legislation, taxpayers who feel aggrieved by a decision of Sars have to go through an internal dispute resolution process that often takes years, and while it runs its course the taxpayers must set aside money until it is resolved...

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