employment tax incentive (ETI) 

What's New?

  • 17 September 2018 - Employer Interim Reconciliation Submissions
    The Employer Interim Reconciliation submission period is open from 17 September until 31 October 2018. During the Interim Reconciliation submission period, employers are required to submit an Employer Reconciliation Declaration (EMP501) and an interim Employee Income Tax Certificate [IRP5/IT3(a)s] for the six month period - 1 March to 31 August 2018. The interim IRP5/IT3(a)s must not be issued to an employee, unless it is a final certificate (where the employee has left the service of the employer or the employer ceased to be an employer on or before 31 August 2018). Read more on the changes.

  • 01 June  2018 - 2018 Annual Employer Reconciliation (1 March 2017 – 28 February 2018)
    You are kindly advised that the deadline for the Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) Employer Annual Reconciliations submissions for the period 1 March 2017 – 28 February 2018 to SARS, confirming or correcting payroll tax amounts which were declared in respect of the 2017/2018 tax period has now closed as at 31 May 2018. Your submissions are late and should be submitted without any further delay as you may be liable for penalties.

  • 01 April 2018 - 2018 Annual Employer Reconciliation (1 March 2017 – 28 February 2018) - CLOSED 
    Employers are required to submit their Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) Employer Annual Reconciliations between 1 April and 31 May 2018 to SARS, confirming or correcting payroll tax amounts which were declared in respect of the 2017/2018 tax period.

  • 16 March 2018 - PAYE BRS for Employer Reconciliation (August 2018 release)

Why is there an ETI?

Millions of young South Africans are excluded from participating in economic activity, and as a result suffer disproportionately from unemployment, discouragement and economic marginalisation. High youth unemployment means young people are not gaining the skills or experience needed to drive the economy forward. This lack of skills can have long-term adverse effects on the economy.

In South Africa the current lack of skills and experience as well as perceptions regarding the restrictiveness of labour regulations make some prospective employers reluctant to hire the youth.
As a South African employer, you now have a great opportunity to boost the employment of young work seekers.

What is it?

The ETI is an incentive aimed at encouraging employers to hire young work seekers. It was implemented with effect from 1 January 2014. 

What are the benefits for employers?

The benefits of the ETI are:
  • It will reduce the employers cost of hiring young people through a cost-sharing mechanism with government, by allowing you to reduce the amount of  Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) you pay while leaving the wage received by the employee unaffected.
    • For example, employers who are registered for PAYE, and who employ a person for the full month of February 2014 and earns R2000, will get R1 000 off their monthly PAYE liability (provided that the employee is a qualifying employee based on all the other remaining requirements). For more information on how the ETI works, click here.
  • Employers will be able to claim the incentive for a 24 month period for all employees who qualify. Click here for more information.
  • The incentive amount differs based on the salary paid to each qualifying employee and whether the qualifying employee was employed after the inception of the ETI programme on 1 October 2013. ETI may only be claimed for a total of 24 qualifying months. Click here for more information.
  • This incentive will complement existing government programmes with similar objectives e.g. learnership agreements.
  • The aim of the ETI is to facilitate the increased employment of young work seekers.

Who qualifies?

  • The employer is eligible to claim the ETI if the employer–
    • Is registered for Employees’ Tax (PAYE), or must be eligible to register for PAYE (e.g. the employer can't register just to claim ETI, other registration requirements must be met)
    • Is not in the national, provincial or local sphere of government
    • Is not a public entity listed in Schedule 2 or 3 of the Public Finance Management Act (other than those public entities designated by the Minister of Finance by Notice in the Gazette)
    • Is not a municipal entity
    • Is not disqualified by the Minister of Finance due to the displacement of an employee or by not meeting the conditions as may be prescribed by the Minister by regulation.
Top Tip: To work out if you are a qualifying employer click here.

How do I determine who is a qualifying employee?

Top Tip: There is no limit to the number of qualifying employees that an employer can hire.
 
An individual is a qualifying employee if he or she–
  • Has a valid South African ID, Asylum Seeker permit or an ID issued in terms of the Refugee Act
  • Is 18 to 29 years old (please note that the age limit is not applicable if the employee renders services mainly inside a special economic zone (SEZ) to an employer that is operating inside the SEZ. The following SEZs have been designated by the Minister of Finance with effect from 1 August 2018:
Code​ Description
​COE ​COEGA SEZ
DTP​ ​DUBE TRADE PORT SEZ
​EAL ​EAST LONDON SEZ
MAP​ ​MALUTI-A-PHOFUNG SEZ
​SLB ​SALDANHA BAY SEZ
RIB​ ​RICHARDS  BAY SEZ
    • Please note that this opened age limit is not activated as yet for any specific industry designated by the Minister of Finance.
  • Is not a domestic worker
  • Is not a “connected person” to the employer
  • Was employed by the employer or an associated person to the employer on or after 1 October 2013 and
  • Is paid the minimum wage applicable to that employer or if a minimum wage doesn't apply, is paid a wage of at least R2 000 (where the qualifying employee was employed for 160 hours in a month) and not more than
    R6 000 renumeration.
Important: The value of the ETI the employer may claim depends on the value of the monthly remuneration paid to the qualifying employee. If the employee has worked less than 160 hours in the month, the remuneration amount must be ‘grossed up’ to 160 hours per month to calculate the value of the ETI. The amount can then be calculated and be ‘grossed down’ in the same ratio. See more information here.

Will penalties apply?

Yes, penalties will apply when:
  • An employer claims the ETI for an employee who qualifies and earns less than the minimum wage (or less than R2 000 where a minimum wage is not applicable). A penalty equal to 100% of the ETI claimed for that employee will be imposed. This will lead to an under-payment of employee’s tax and possible interest and penalties in terms of the Tax Administration Act.
  • An employer is believed to have displaced an employee in order to employ an employee who qualifies. A penalty of R30 000 will be levied, for each employee displaced. 

How long will it be available?

The initial end date of 31 December 2016 was extended to 28 February 2019.  
 
An employer is able to claim the incentive for a 24 month period for all employees who qualify.

Need help?

Call the SARS Contact Centre on 0800 00 SARS (7277), or visit your nearest SARS branch.
 
 
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Last Updated: 15/10/2018 2:43 PM     print this page
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 Top FAQs

What do I do if an employee doesn't qualify each month?
In determining the first or the second 12 month period, only the months in which the employee qualifies are taken into account.

Can the Monthly Employer Declaration (EMP201) have a negative amount?
The Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) on the EMP201 may not result in a negative amount. Where the calculated Employment Tax Incentive (ETI) is more than the PAYE liability,

What are the consequences if I select Yes under the Employment Tax Incentive (ETI) section on the Monthly Employer Declaration (EMP201), and I do have outstanding returns and/or debt?
If an employer continues to claim the ETI even though it is not available to them in term of section 8 of the ETI Act, the employer would have a short fall on the payment of PAYE resulting in interest and penalty for late payment in that month.

If an employee's monthly remuneration places the employee in the R2001 - R4000 range for ETI. If that same employee works overtime and as a result earns more than R4000. How will the ETI be calculated?
The calculation of ETI is determined per qualifying employee at the end of each month. This means that the incentive amount may not remain fixed per qualifying employee where the employee earns additional payments, such as overtime.

Do I need to tick the Employment Tax Incentive (ETI) field when completing a certificate on e@syFile™ Employer?
The ETI field is only mandatory when you have claimed ETI for the specific employee. A pop-up message will be shown, when manually capturing the certificate details for an employee who doesn't qualify for the ETI.