What's New?

  • 11 December 2020 - Updated PAYE BRS Employer Reconciliation version 19.5

    The correct validation for information code 4587 – Section 10(1)(o)(ii) exemption taken into account by the employer for PAYE purposes has been reinstated. In addition, the validation of source code 4102 – PAYE has been updated to be clear and concise.

  • 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.

  • 1 June 2020 - Employers Filing season is now closed. It was open from 15 April to 31 May 2020. You may still submit, but please note that penalties may apply.

  • 25 April 2020 - FAQs for Employers on Tax Relief for COVID-19

  • 23 April 2020 - Updated PAYE BRS for Employer Reconciliation (2020 release) version 19.03 was published
    The PAYE BRS for Employer Reconciliation (2020 release) has been updated with the requirements for the COVID-19 Tax Relief to enable employers to claim the increase of the extended ETI, declare donations to the Solidarity Fund and payments received from UIF.

  • 22 April 2020 - PAYE BRS for Employer Reconciliation (2020 release) version 19.02 was published.
    The PAYE BRS for Employer Reconciliation (2020 release) was updated with the requirements for the COVID-19 Tax Relief for ETI to enable employers to calculate the extended ETI.

  • 17 April 2020 - Printing of IRP5/IT3(a) certificates
    We are aware that employers may be experiencing problems with the printing of IRP5/IT3(a) Employees’ Tax certificates from the eFiling platform. We recommend that you submit your Employer Reconciliation Declaration (EMP501) to SARS but do not yet print any IRP5/IT3(a) certificates. We will inform you when printing of IRP5/IT3(a)s using the eFiling platform may resume.

  • 15 April 2020 - Employer Annual Reconciliation was open from 15 April and closed 31 May.

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

  • 31 March 2020 - Updated PAYE BRS for Employer Reconciliation (2020 release) version 19.01 was published.

  • 4 September 2019 - Updated PAYE BRS for Employer Reconciliation (2019 release) version 18.05 was published.

What is Reconciliation?

It involves an employer submitting an accurate Employer Reconciliation Declaration (EMP501), Employee Tax Certificates [IRP5/IT3(a)s] to be issued and if applicable, a Tax Certificate Cancellation Declaration (EMP601).

The three elements that must reconcile in order for your submission to be successful are the:

  • Monthly Employer Declarations (EMP201s) submitted [Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) and/or Skills Development Levy (SDL), Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) amounts due and Employment Tax Incentive (ETI), if applicable]
  • Payments made (excluding penalty and interest payments)
  • IRP5/IT3(a)s generated - PAYE, SDL and UIF values.

Who is it for?

Employers need to submit their reconciliation by the date published in the Government Gazette.

When and how should submissions be made?

Reconciliation declarations should be submitted twice during year of assessment, for the:
  • Interim period – which is for the six month period 1 March to 31 August
  • Annual period – which if for the full year 1 March to 28/29 February.

The Business Requirement Specification (BRS) defines the data submission requirements for the tax certificates [IRP5/IT3(a)s],  and the reconciliation for PAYE, SDL, UIF and/or ETI, if applicable.

Business Requirement Specifications (BRS) and timelines

​Business Requirement Specification
​       Year Applicable​                 Submission dates*​                       

BRS - PAYE Employer Reconciliation for 2020 /2021

​​​2021 Annual Employer Reconciliation
(1 March 2020 - 28 February 2021)
Interim: 14 Sep – 31 Oct 2020
Annual: 15 Apr – 31 May 2021
BRS - PAYE Employer Reconciliation for 2019 / 2020 2020 Annual Employer Reconciliation
(1 March 2019 - 28 February 2020)
Interim: 23 Sep – 31 Oct 2019
Annual: 15 Apr – 31 May 2020
BRS - PAYE Employer Reconciliation for 2018 / 2019 ​​2019 Annual Employer Reconciliation
(1 March 2018 - 28 February 2019)
​​Interim: 17 Sep - 31 Oct 2018
Annual: 1 Apr - 31 May 2019
BRS - PAYE Employer Reconciliation for 2017 / 2018 ​2018 Annual Employer Reconciliation
(1 March 2017 - 28 February 2018)
Interim: 15 Sep - 31 Oct 2017
Annual: 1 Apr - 31 May 2018 
BRS - PAYE Employer Reconciliation for 2016 /2017​  2017 Annual Employer Reconciliation
(1 March 2016 – 28 February 2017)
Interim: 12 Sep - 31 Oct 2016
Annual: 1 Apr - 31 May 2017

* The final submission periods are subject to business requirements / readiness and calendar working day dates. Final confirmation will be communicated at the time of the relevant submission period. 

Completing your reconciliation online is the quickest, easiest and most convenient option. You can use either: 

Copies of all declarations submitted and related supporting documents (relevant material) must be kept for five years. 
Top Tip: Should your submission not balance across the three elements [EMP201, payments submitted and
IRP5/IT3(a)s)], we will alert you by letter.

Don’t forget the following important details:

1. Make sure you have the latest version of [email protected]™ Employer available.
2. Import the electronic Employee Tax Certificates [IRP5/IT3(a)s] CSV files from your current payroll system.
3. Reconcile your EMP501 –
    • Capture all additional manual IRP5/IT3(a)s, and [email protected]™ Employer will use the information, from all the tax certificates, to automatically calculate the certificate totals for your EMP501.
    • Enter your monthly liabilities, payments and Employment Tax Incentive (ETI) information, if applicable, and [email protected]™ Employer will calculate the rest!
4. Manually completed Payroll Tax, posted, are no longer accepted.
These forms include:
  • Monthly Employer Declaration (EMP201)
  • Employer Reconciliation Declaration (EMP501)
  • IRP5/IT3(a)s
  • Tax Certificate Cancellation Declaration (EMP601)
  • Reconciliation Declaration Adjustment (EMP701).
Top Tip: An exception is made for employers with a maximum of five IRP5/IT3(a)s. The employer can still go into a SARS branch where an agent will help them capture these IRP5/IT3(a)s and the EMP501.

These electronic channels are free, convenient and available 24/7.

5. Make sure your reconciliation submission balances.
  • The EMP501 must reconcile to your EMP201s, which should have been submitted during the period (giving you a chance to correct this, where needed).
  • The EMP201s must reconcile to payments made for the period.
  • The EMP201 payments must reconcile to your IRP5/IT3(a)s generated.
Top Tip: Experiencing problems due to duplicate or incomplete EMP501 submissions made on [email protected]™ Employer, read more here.

6. Send your reconciliation before the deadline to avoid penalties and interest being charged.

Please note: Submissions made on a disc at a SARS branch is no longer available.  

When an audit is done internally by SARS on the EMP501, and PAYE liability is amended thereby, the employer is required to re-submit the EMP501 in accordance with the audit result on the assessment (EMP217).

To access this page in different languages click on the links below:


Last Updated: 11/12/2020 4:12 PM     print this page
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 Top FAQs

While downloading the latest version of the easyFile™ Employer, my anti-virus identified a virus and deleted any [email protected]™ Employer files already installed. Is there a virus on [email protected]™ Employer?
No, easyFile™ Employer is not infected by a virus. Make sure you have set your anti-virus to accept [email protected]™ Employer.

What to do if the EMP501 reconciliation was submitted for the incorrect period?
If you have submitted your 201608 EMP501 reconciliation, but you selected the 201702 period by mistake, the system will not allow you to capture and submit any EMP201 returns for the months of September 2016 to February 2017.

Why does my 2015 recon fail ETI now when it was submitted successfully in 2015?
SARS has not applied any ETI validations systematically prior to the August 2016 release. The validations that were introduced now applies to all tax years since the inception of ETI in 2014.

ETI validation reason - Monthly Minimum Wage is greater than the value in Monthly Remuneration?
The monthly minimum wage must be apportioned to the number of ETI hours. ETI may not be claimed if the employee is remunerated less than the monthly minimum wage.

ETI validation reason - If Minimum wage is 0 then Monthly Remuneration must be at least R2000?
ETI may not be claimed if the employee is remunerated less than R2000. The R2000 must be apportioned to the number of ETI hours and the value specified in the minimum monthly wage.