Does your heart sink when you open an e-mail or SMS from the SA Revenue Service (Sars) and see the words "notice of assessment"? There's no need to panic. An assessment is a communication issued by Sars indicating whether you need to pay tax for a specific tax period. The assessment is the way Sars confirms the information you have submitted: the income earned and expenses incurred that you have declared during the tax period. It states the amount of tax you owe Sars or the refund due to you from Sars. Essentially, it's a squaring off of accounts between you, the taxpayer, and Sars for the tax year. It is important to analyse the content of an assessment issued by Sars to assess whether you are in agreement with it and that there aren't processing errors in Sars's assessment or errors that you have made in submitting the return. In the event that Sars has disallowed an expense or increased your income, this will also be reflected in the assessment. In such a case, Sars is obliged to...

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