Latest on the impact of COVID-19 on SARS

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  • 28 August Extension of COVID-19 relief for PAYE: Employers/Stakeholders

    Although the amended Disaster Management Tax Relief Administration Bill to extend the deferral of the payment of employees tax liability for tax compliant small to medium sized businesses with one month until 31 August 2020 has not been published yet, it is confirmed that the amended Bill was passed by the National Assembly on 26 August 2020.

    The amendment specifically refers to the –
    • deferral being applicable to amounts deducted or withheld during the period commencing on 1 April 2020 and ending on 31 August 2020 with same requirements as previously, and
    • require the payment of the deferred amounts to be paid in six equal monthly instalments, commencing on 7 October 2020 and ending on 5 March 2021.

The amended Bill should soon become available.

Under the circumstances, SARS had no alternative to the approach followed with the COVID-19 Tax Relief measures to date, which is to implement the pending legislation before it is passed. The Statement of Account (EPMSA) will be amended during September 2020 to include detail of the deferred payments. This will enable qualifying employers to remain compliant.

Amendment to Rule 19A.11, to provide for further deferral period in respect of payment of excise duties on certain products (DAR201). 
 

Comments to be submitted in writing to National Treasury’s tax policy depository at [email protected] 
and to SARS at [email protected]

Due date for public comment: 31 August 2020

  • 18 June 2020 - Updated PAYE BRS for Employer Reconciliation (2020 release) version 19.04
    In this version the descriptions of the source codes for the donations to the COVID19 Solidarity Fund has been amended, as well as the ETI fields to cater for additional ETI that may claimed as part of the COVID19 Tax Relief.


  • ​​​​17 June 2020 – Publication of Explanatory Summary of the Disaster Management Tax Relief Administration Bill, 2020

​​Notice 674 in Government Gazette 43443 of 17 June 2020 serves to inform of the Minister of Finance's intention to introduce the Disaster Management Tax Relief Administration Bill, 2020​ in the National Assembly on 24 June 2020


  • 12 June 2020 Rule amendment notice R670 in GG 43435 under sections 19A, 54AA, 105 and 120

    Relief measures under the Customs and Excise Act, 1964 to assist in alleviating the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Customs and Excise sphere, including – DAR197
    • insertion of rule 19A.11 concerning deferral of certain excise duty payments;
    • amendment of rules 54FD.04 and 54FD.05 concerning deferral of first carbon tax submissions and payments; and
    • insertion of rules 105.01 to 105.04 concerning instalment payment 

The effective date of the rule amendments is 12 June 2020, except for rule 19A.11, which commences retrospectively on 1 May 2020.


National Treasury and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) publish, for public comment, the revised 2020 Draft Disaster Management Tax Relief Bill and 2020 Draft Disaster Management Tax Relief Administration Bill. These Bills give effect to the media statement issued by National Treasury on 24 April 2020 regarding further tax measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, following the address by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 21 April 2020.
 
The revised 2020 Draft Disaster Management Tax Relief Bill and the 2020 Draft Disaster Management Tax Relief Administration Bill provide the necessary legislative amendments required to implement the further tax measures aimed at combating the COVID-19 pandemic and also take into account public comments received on the initial batch of COVID-19 draft tax bills published on 1 April 2020.

Public comment to be submitted by 15 May 2020 to [email protected] and Adele Collins at [email protected]

 

  • 25 April 2020Draft explanatory notes– Further COVID-19 tax measures and Draft notices for urgent public comment – Expanding access to living annuities

    Following queries received, National Treasury and SARS publish, for urgent comment, explanatory notes on further COVID-19 tax measures, and notices relating to expanding access to living annuities. Because of time constraints to have these notices signed into law with immediate effect, the comment period is open for a very limited time.

     
  • 24 April 2020 – Tax Relief measures: Three-month deferral for filing and first payment of carbon tax

    In line with the economic stimulus package announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa, the filing requirement and the first carbon tax payment which was due by 31 July 2020 will be delayed to 31 October 2020.


  • 24 April 2020 - FAQ's for Employers detailing the process to follow for PAYE deferment, SDL payment holiday and the extended Employment Tax Incentive

    On 21st April 2020 President Ramaphosa announced additional measures to assist employers to provide financial stability to their employees. One of these measures includes a 35% deferral on the monthly PAYE liability owed to SARS for the months of April, May, June and July. In addition, SARS will not impose any penalty or interest on the deferred PAYE liability amount. This means that employers are still liable to pay the remaining 65% as per normal.


  • 24 April 2020 - Update: Frequently Asked Questions on Tax Relief Measures
    • ETI amounts increased from R500 to R750
    • Gross income increased from 50 to 100 million for businesses qualifying for tax relief


  • 24 April 2020 - Update to the 9 April post of what other countries are doing during the COVID 19 Pandemic (Eswatini and Lesotho)


  • 23 April 2020 - Press release from Treasury: Further Tax Measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic


  • 22 April 2020 - Dealing with Tax Exemption Unit (TEU) during lockdown

    • New applications to register as a Public Benefit Organisation (PBO)

      New applications to register as a Public Benefit Organisation (PBO) cannot be submitted through email as they are very bulky, rather, taxpayers are encouraged not to submit new applications during this period.

    • Emergency registrations (disaster management related activities organisations)

      For emergency registrations taxpayers can send an email to make a drop-off arrangement – [email protected]

    • Supporting documents for applications

      Requested supporting documents may be submitted through [email protected], clearly identifying the case number and income tax number for ease of linking to the original case.
       
    • Submission of returns

      IT12EI income tax return must be emailed to [email protected]
      Support documents for returns – where taxpayers have been requested to submit supporting documents for assessments, they may send them via email, clearly indicating the tax reference number of the taxpayer so that the supporting documents case can be directed correctly.

    • TEU switchboard

      TEU switchboard will not be active, taxpayers can send follow-up queries via email, [email protected].

  • 22 April 2020 - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) relating to essential goods, clearance and movement of goods, and services rendered by Customs under the COVID-19 lockdown
  • 20 April 2020 – Update: Frequently Asked Questions on Tax Relief Measures (will be updated on a regular basis)


  • 19 April 2020 – Update: Customs measures relating to COVID-19 - Impact on Customs of new Government regulations 
    (This replaces the notes of 6 and 7 April relating to Transportation of Cargo)
  • 17 April 2020 – Requests for duty deferment payment relief

    Kindly note that SARS has received a number of requests from traders for payment relief or extensions in respect of the April 2020
    Customs duty deferment period as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact which it has had on economic activity under lockdown conditions. Please see the response from SARS to all stakeholders.


  • 14 April 2020 – VAT Reference Guide for Foreign Donor Funded Projects in the light of COVID-19

    The South African government may enter into international donor funding agreements with foreign governments or other international entities in terms of which goods or services must be supplied for the benefit of people in South Africa. The purpose of this reference guide is to provide certainty to taxpayers on the VAT treatment of foreign donor funded projects implemented by an implementing agency. For more info, see the VAT Reference Guide for Foreign Donor Funded Projects.


  • 14 April 2020 – Application of Origin proof requirement during the COVID-19 crisis under the SADC-EU-EPA

    South Africa and the European Commission has relaxed the requirement to insist on the presentation or submission of original certificates of origin to prove the originating status of goods at the time of clearance. Instead, copies or electronic versions of proof of origin will be accepted in an attempt to curb the spread of the COVID-19. In South Africa, the relaxation of the rules is subject to the submission of the original certificates within 12 months after being issued in the European Union (EU). While Article 26 to Protocol I of the SADC-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) requires the submission of an original proof of origin within ten (10) months, SARS will honour or accept copies or electronic versions of certificates of origin while awaiting the submission of the original versions within twelve (12) months after being issued in the EU.

    Traders are encouraged to register for the generous Approved Exporter Scheme, within the meaning of Article 25 to Protocol I of the SADC-EU EPA, which allows an Origin Declaration to be presented in the importing country no longer than two (2) years after the importation of the products to which it relates.
    Kindly direct all enquiries in relation to this matter to Mr Alfred Ramoroka at [email protected].


  • 9 April 2020 – Goods qualifying for import VAT exemption under item 412.11 – COVID-19 measures (Updated the 3 April 2020 message to reflect additional exclusion communicated by ITAC, with effect from 8 April 2020)

    SARS wishes to clarify that "essential goods" as defined in Regulation R.398 in Government Gazette No 43148 of 25 March 2020, other than the goods mentioned below, are exempt from VAT on importation under item 412.11/00.00/01.00 to Schedule 1 of the Value-Added Tax Act, 1991, read with section 13(3) of that Act.
     
    Goods that are not exempt from VAT on importation are goods that the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) has indicated are:

1) dutiable (and no ITAC certificate under item 412.11 of Schedule No. 4 of the Customs and Excise Act, 1964, has been issued);

2) subject to the duties referred to in 1) but are entering South Africa duty free because of a preferential trade agreement or other agreement, such as a customs union;

3) the subject of applications for duty support that are currently pending before ITAC; and

4) manufactured by domestic industry and ITAC has determined such industry is being or is likely to be injured by imports.

See the illustrative mapping of essential goods to their relevant tariff headings. The illustrative mapping has been prepared at a high level and may include non-essential goods. e.g. Chapters 28 and 29 contain chemicals that are not used for essential goods. Importers must ensure that only essential goods are cleared under item 412.11 to avoid penalties.
 
Goods excluded from the import VAT exemption under 1) are those goods that are subject to an ordinary customs duty, as set out in Schedule No. 1, or trade remedies (anti-dumping, countervailing or safeguard duty), as set out in Schedule No. 2 to the Customs and Excise Act, 1964. Goods excluded under 2) are also set out in these Schedules. A list of goods excluded under 3) and 4) is available in the relevant ITAC certificate. Click here for the ITAC import VAT certificate dated 30 March 2020. Click here for the ITAC import VAT certificate dated 8 April 2020.
 
Goods that qualify for VAT exemption and are not dutiable fall under the certificate issued by ITAC in this regard and no individual applications need be submitted to SARS or ITAC.
 
Importation will follow the normal procedure described in the external policy SC-CF-55 – Clearance declaration external policy. The VAT exemption is only valid for direct importations and not to be cleared into bond or warehousing.  CPC A 14 must be used for importations from outside SACU and CPC A 12 for importations from the BLNS, with measure 412.11/00.00/01.00.
 
During the COVID-19 pandemic, SARS Customs has also set up a command centre to deal with escalations that may have not been dealt with at branch level. Your existing call reference number, transaction (SSM/LRN) can then be sent to [email protected]. To save duplication and time, clients are reminded that queries must be sent to the relevant branch/processing centre.

Please note that the VAT treatment of the local supply of goods by an importer or any other vendor is unaffected by the import VAT exemption. The normal provisions of the Value-Added Tax Act, 1991, apply.

  • 9 April 2020 – SADC Guidelines on Harmonisation and Facilitation of Cross Border Transport Operations across the Region During the COVID-19 Pandemic (Updated on 15 April with neighbouring countries details)

    Domestic, interstate and international travel have proven to be one of the main ways the COVID-19 virus is spreading among communities, nations and globally. There is therefore a need to limit travelling and freight movements to the absolutely essential only.
  • 9 April 2020 – Notice No. R.458 in Government Gazette No. 43222

    Rule amendment to substitute Rule 24.03 to provide for the exemption of foreign-going ships or aircraft from the payment of duty on stores consumed on such ships in any port in the Republic, or on an aircraft on a flight between any places in the Republic for the duration of the national state of disaster. With retrospective effect from 23 March 2020.


  • 8 April 2020 – Frequently Asked Questions on Tax Relief Measures


  • 8 April 2020 – Media statement from Treasury - Call to Suppliers

    Due to the shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to curb the spread of COVID-19, the National Treasury in support of the Department of Trade, Industry, and Competition (DTIC) calls on all compliant, particularly local, suppliers providing commodities listed below to direct their offers to the PMO set up for this purpose. The submissions will be assessed by the support team responsible for coordinating the process, exclusively for the identified commodities.


  • 8 April 2020 – Disaster Management Tax Relief for Employees’ Tax, ETI and Provisional Tax

    This video focuses on the Disaster Management Tax Relief for Employees’ Tax, ETI and Provisional Tax. Government has proposed certain tax relief measures aimed at alleviating cash flow problems during the COVID-19 outbreak. These Tax Relief Bills, includes tax relief for businesses in respect of provisional taxes, employees’ tax and an expansion of the employment tax incentive. The video is segmented into three areas focusing on the three main categories.


  • 3 April 2020 – Goods qualifying for a full rebate of customs duty and import VAT exemption under 412.11 – COVID-19 measures
     
    Importation of supplies critical to the national state of disaster necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic can be done free of duty and VAT into South Africa. 

    Importers are required to apply to ITAC for a certificate to use that qualifies them to import under rebate item 412.11.

    Qualifying products referred to as “critical supplies” are listed on the ITAC website, as is the application form and the SOP.

    The importation of these goods will follow the normal Customs procedure described in the external policy SC-CF-55. The rebate item is only valid for direct importations and no bonded or warehouse clearances will be permitted under this rebate item.  CPC A 14 must be used for importations from outside SACU and CPC A 12 for importations from the BLNS, with measure 412.11/00.00/01.00.

    If requested to provide supporting documents to Customs, the client would need to upload the certificate issued to the importer by ITAC, along with the standard set of supporting documents to substantiate the import declaration.

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, SARS Customs has also set up a command centre to deal with escalations that may have not been dealt with at branch level. Your existing call reference number, transaction (SSM/LRN) can then be sent to [email protected]. To save duplication and time, clients are reminded that queries must be sent to the relevant branch/processing centre.


  • 3 April 2020 – Treatment of timeframes during period of national lockdown 

    Please Note that the Disaster Management Tax Relief Administration Bill, 2020 has been published on the SARS website for public comment.  The closing date for comments is 15 April 2020. In terms of proposed clause 5(2)(a)(i) of the Bill, certain time periods prescribed in terms of the Customs and Excise Act, 1964, are suspended for the duration of the national lockdown as defined in clause 1 of the Bill. The time periods that are not extended during the national lockdown are dealt with in clause 5(2)(a)(ii). In respect of these time periods, the current provisions of the Customs and Excise Act, 1964, will apply. Current provisions in terms of the Customs and Excise Act in relation to interest and penalties will continue to apply in respect of non-compliance.


  • 3 April 2020 –  Frequently Asked Questions on Tax Relief Measures (will be updated on a regular basis)


  • 2 April 2020 – COVID-19 Export Control Regulation

    SARS has been requested by the Department of Trade and Industry to add the listed goods to its prohibited and restricted list (P&R list) for purposes of export control. It is not a ban. Traders may apply to the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) for an export permit, and if granted the goods may be exported. See the Notice R.424 for more information.

  • 2 April 2020 – Processing of Rules of Origin certificates during lockdown

    Customs clients submitting Certificates of origin, including: Form A, EUR1, SADC, MERCOSUR and AGOA, will continue to do so at their local branch as per communiqué dated 26 March 2020 (using an appointment process). However, clients in Durban and Cape Town are advised that Certificates of origin will only be processed during the lockdown period on the following days: Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A skeleton staff complement will be deployed to these two Customs hubs to assist on the abovementioned days for limited hours. Please note that receipt and collection of the certificates is to be done between 08:00 and 12:00PM on those three days only.

    The hubs are situated at:
    • Durban: Albany House
      61/62 Margaret Mncadi ave
    • Cape Town:  SARS Project 166
      22 Hans Strydom Avenue


  • 1 April 2020 – Draft Disaster Management Tax Relief and Relief Administration Bill

    Following the media statement issued by the Minister of Finance on 29 March 2020 on Tax Measures to Combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Treasury and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) today publish, for public comment, the 2020 Draft Disaster Management Tax Relief Bill and the 2020 Draft Disaster Management Tax Relief Administration Bill. These draft Bills provide the necessary legislative amendments required to implement the COVID-19 tax measures. The measures contained in these draft Bills will take effect on 1 April 2020:
  • 31 March 2020 – Rebates for the manufacturing of hand sanitisers

    SARS Excise – SARS has published a streamlined temporary registration process for traders to register as rebate users in the manufacturing of disinfectants for the duration of the national state of disaster.
  • 30 March 2020 – Small Business relief

    For Small Businesses in need of financial support during this difficult time, refer to the Debt Relief Finance Scheme offered by the Department of Small Business Development, click here.

  • 29 March 2020 – The Minister of Finance announced exceptional tax measures

    The Minister of Finance has announced the following exceptional tax measures as part of the fiscal package outlined by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 23 March 2020 in his speech on the Escalation of Measures to Combat COVID-19. These measures are over and above the tax proposals made in the 2020 Budget on 26 February 2020. The tax adjustments are made in light of the National State of Disaster and due to the significant and potentially lasting negative impacts on the economy from the spreading of the COVID-19 virus. There is a critical need for government interventions to assist with job retention and assist businesses that may be experiencing significant distress:

  • 28 March 2020 – Letter to taxpayers regarding Debt SMS's issued

    Dear Taxpayer, during these challenging times SARS continues to provide the essential service of collecting tax revenue that our Government more than ever before needs to deal with amongst others COVID19 & helping the economy. Many distressed taxpayers also anxiously await their refunds thus requiring SARS to continue its essential services.

    SARS confirms that an sms was issued today to taxpayers about amounts payable on 31 March 2020. SARS remains available to continue to provide essential service during this difficult time. Thanking you in advance & kind regards.

  • 27 March 2020 – Clarity relating to processing of cargo and travellers during national lockdown period

    All borders of the Republic are closed during the period of lockdown, except for transportation of fuel and essential goods. On 25 March 2020, the Department of Transport issued a statement by the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula. Click on the above link for more information on air, sea and land related points on cross-border movement of cargo and travellers.


  • 27 March 2020 – SARS Contact Centre operating hours during lockdown

    • Weekdays: 9:00 - 16:00
    • Closed on weekends and Public Holidays.

Our contact numbers are 0800 00 7277 and for International callers: +27 11 602 2093.

  • 27 March 2020 –  VAT exemption for essential goods on importation (29 March – Updated to reflect scope of customs duty rebate and 3 April – Updated with contact details)

    Due to the measures put in place under the Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002, “essential goods” as defined in Regulation R.398 in Government Gazette No 43148 of 25 March 2020 will be subject to a VAT exemption on importation during the COVID-19 pandemic, under Item 412.11/00.00/01.00 of Schedule 1 to the Value Added Tax Act 89 of 1991. A full rebate of customs duty under rebate item 412.11 of Schedule No. 4 to the Customs and Excise Act 91 of 1964 is available where ITAC has approved the rebate for the goods concerned. 


  • 26 March 2020 – Timeframe for the export of goods by vendors and qualifying purchasers affected by COVID-19

    Binding General Ruling 52 has been issued to address the Export Regulations and Interpretation Note 30 (IN 30) which prescribes the time periods to export movable goods, apply for a refund from the VAT Refund Administrator and obtain the relevant documentary proof of export. The Export Regulations and IN 30 respectively allow for an extension of the aforementioned time periods, where these periods cannot be met, because of circumstances beyond the control of the qualifying purchaser or the vendor. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the measures put in place by the President of the Republic, regarding the pandemic, qualifying purchasers and vendors will have a difficulty in meeting the aforementioned prescribed time periods set out in the Export Regulations and IN 30.


  • 26 March 2020 – Rebate Item 621.08 – Special conditions for certain recipients of partially or undenatured ethyl alcohol

    For the purposes of item 621.08, the special conditions shall apply to recipients and users of partially denatured or undenatured ethyl alcohol for the manufacture of disinfectant classifiable in heading 38.08 of Part 1 of Schedule No. 1 for the duration of the national state of disaster declared in terms of section 27(1) of the National Disaster Management Act, 2002 (Act No. 57 of 2002), by Government Notice No. 313 of 15 March 2020.


  • 26 March 2020 – Arrangements for Customs services during lockdown and Customs Branch Managers contact details

    Procedures that SARS Customs has put in place during the period 27 March 2020 until 16 April 2020, focusing primarily on facilitating trade in essential services for Services at Customs offices, Registration, Licensing and Accreditation, Applications for Embargoes, Special Attendance, Degroup Removal in Bonds, etc. and Physical Inspections.


  • 25 March 2020 – Letter to Taxpayers – Message from Commissioner Edward Kieswetter

    Dear Taxpayer,

    As you are aware, we are entering an unprecedented period in our history as a young democracy. It is a time in which we need to show social solidarity by taking care of ourselves and all South Africans.

    The President of South Africa Mr Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a nationwide lockdown with effect from midnight on Thursday 26 March 2020 in view of the escalating COVID-19 pandemic.

    Taking into account the devastating economic impact of this pandemic, the President also announced a number of measures to help tax compliant companies in distress and their affected employees, especially Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs).

    To give effect to the President’s lockdown instructions and to minimise face-to-face contact, I wish to inform you that SARS has taken a decision to ensure that alternative processes are in place so that you can engage with SARS, read more.


  • 25 March 2020 – SARS Customs letter to Trade on the impact of COVID-19

During this lockdown period, SARS Customs wishes to advise you of the following:

  • As an essential service, SARS Customs will continue to administer cross-border movement of goods at all land, sea, airports, and permissible travel in line with applicable restrictions.
  • SARS Customs is putting in place measures to ensure uninterrupted rendering of Customs services, and the protection of our officers and clients.

SARS Customs will ensure that the following capabilities remain available throughout the lockdown period:

  • Licencing and Registration for the manufacturing of essential products such as sanitisers. A central capacity will be created to process these applications;
  • A minimum service capability will be available when required at all Customs offices;
  • The processing of declarations will proceed as normal;
  • Physical inspections of goods will continue as normal and priority will be given to essential goods. Other inspections will continue on an appointment basis;
  • Border operations will proceed as normal with limited staff.


Following the announcement of the national lockdown and a teleconference held  with key Customs stakeholders this week, a decision was made to bring forward the 13th deferment payment for the 2019/20 financial year-end.

The statement period for this financial year (2019/2020) 13th deferment payment will now close 25 March 2020 at 17h00 and payment must be made by no later than 15h00 on Friday 27 March 2020.  The e-statements will be available as at 17h01 on 25 March 2020 for account holders who are on eFiling. Account holders not on eFiling will be emailed their statements by the respective branches. They will also be available for collection at the respective Customs Branches through prior arrangement.


This week SARS announced that it is taking measures to ensure the safety of its staff and clients, including encouraging social distancing and limiting the number of people visiting SARS offices. As a result, if Customs clients wish to register as a cargo reporter, instead of couriering their registration documents or handing them in at SARS head office in Pretoria, they are asked to scan them and mail them to [email protected]
For queries, you can call 012-422 8388.

Due to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak all tax workshops and mobile tax units have been suspended until further notice.

Service offerings available on eFiling:

  • Enquire on debt outstanding and make a payment
  • Enquire on returns outstanding
  • Tax Compliance Status
  • Notice of Registration (IT150)
  • Filing your Income Tax Return
  • Update personal details (including Bank Details)
  • Request Statement of Account
  • Register for Income Tax (Completed by your employer on eFiling)
  • Submission of Supporting Documents for an audit case

If you are not an eFiler, click here to register.

During President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address to the nation on Sunday night he declared a state of disaster and announced various measures to address the threat of the coronavirus. This included the closure of various ports of entry, including two sea ports and 35 land ports, as of 16 March 2020. The sea ports are Mossel Bay and Saldanha Bay, while the land borders are Alexander Bay, Sendelingsdrift, Onseepkans, McCarthys Rest, Middelpunt, Rietfontein, Gemsbok; Twee Rivieren; Bray; Mokopong; Mokghibistadt; Swartkopfontein; Derdepoort;Stockpoort; Platjan; Pondrift; Zanzibar; Pafuri; Giriyondo; Emahlatini; Bothashoop; Waverley; Nerston; Josefsdal; Kosi Bay; Onverwacht; Sani Pass; Boesmansnek; Tellebridge; Ongeluksnek; Ramatsiliso; Mononsthapass; Peka Bridge; Makhaleng and Sephaphusgate.

Dear Taxpayers

By now you have heard and assimilated the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday 15 March, where he declared a national state of disaster following the outbreak of the COVID-19 which has also been declared a pandemic by the Word Health Organisation (WHO).
 
The President calls on all of us as South African’s for an extra-ordinary response and as SARS we are taking this opportunity at all times to provide clarity and certainty to our taxpayers in how we move forward in terms of our service offerings.
 
As SARS, we have to balance the important work we do to collect revenue, facilitate service to taxpayers, travelers and traders, whilst at the same time taking reasonable measures to protect ourselves as SARS officials and yourselves as citizens of the Republic.
 
Following this, we will be adhering to strict general hygiene as well as social distancing to reduce the spread of the COVID-19.  We need to inform you of the following changes to our operations, read more.


PRETORIA, Sunday 8 March 2020 – South African Revenue Service (SARS) has announced that it has taken several precautionary measures in response to risk of infection from the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
 
Commissioner Edward Kieswetter said SARS tax, customs and excise operations would continue as normal at all SARS branches, offices and ports of entry. These measures are aligned with and in support of other initiatives taken by the Department of Health.
 
All SARS branches will make hand sanitizers available to taxpayers who visit our branches. SARS will also ensure that all working and service areas that are most frequently touched are kept clean with specialized detergents. Information will also be shared with taxpayers on basic steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
 
In addition, the SARS Commissioner said that, “In the past few weeks, SARS has made available it’s person protective equipment to Customs officials at all ports of entry, including masks, gloves as well as hand sanitizers in line with National Government Guidelines”.
 
SARS Customs officials will also be supported by health officials who will screen travelers entering South Africa.
 
SARS officials are also in contact with Customs authorities from neighbouring states to share information regarding the COVID-19 outbreak and steps to mitigate the risk of infection.
 
“I call on all taxpayers and traders to take note of the information available to take steps to protect their health and well-being. Our core message to our employees, as well as taxpayers, traders and travelers is to not panic, but to practice self-care and consideration to others.
 
“In this regard, to practice high levels of personal hygiene, especially to regularly and thoroughly wash hands; minimize handshakes and travel and remain indoors should they experience symptoms of flu.” 
 
 “We want to reassure all taxpayers, traders and travelers that SARS, along with other government departments, is playing its part in responding to the COVID-19 virus.” 
 
SARS will provide further communiqués when necessary.