Tax Practitioner Connect Issue 15 (22 May 2019)

Welcome to the latest edition of Tax Practitioner Connect, the electronic newsletter for tax practitioners that keeps you up to date with the tax matters that affect you. 

The new SARS Commissioner, Edward Kieswetter took office on 1 May 2019. In a letter to staff he acknowledged that the task ahead is daunting, and any attempt to restore SARS to the admired and respected organisation it once was, starts with acknowledging the extent of our current challenges and openly discussing how this came about.

Mr Kieswetter referred to the damage state capture had inflicted on SARS and said the corrupt and narrow interests of certain groups of individuals were served. He said that SARS got caught up in state capture and that anyone who is still indifferent or in denial about the damage caused, is either genuinely ignorant, or in one or other way, complicit.

He emphasised that the Higher Purpose is the most important guiding principle that SARS employees serve because the work we do has an impact on all South Africans. He reiterated that SARS’ commitment to a Higher Purpose will ensure that the impact of our collective work contributes to a South Africa that thrives and is on a path to sustainable economic growth for the material, social and spiritual wellbeing of all our people.

In order to achieve this he outlined the following requirements:

  • Public trust and confidence in SARS must be restored
  • We must create an enabling environment that raises awareness and ensures that the  public can fulfil their obligation to pay tax with minimal effort
  • The SARS Compliance Programme is clear and creates certainty for taxpayers,
  • The South African Compliance Culture has positively improved
  • Tax, Customs and Excise revenues due is collected when it is due

Decisive action is taken against those who for any reason fail to honour their  obligation.

Mr Kieswetter expressed his sincere wish that the rebuilding of SARS will be a shared ambition that needs everyone’s support and said that he was looking forward to engaging with stakeholders on the way forward.

On 26 April 2019 we introduced changes to the Payroll Taxes Statement of Account (SOA) in an attempt to address complaints received from employers about errors occurring on the SOA.

The SOA shows the balance and detailed transactions for a tax year for Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE), the Skills Development Levy (SDL), the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) and the Employer Tax Incentive (ETI). The purpose of this statement is to supply the employer with an overview of the financial transactions for the various payroll taxes and to ultimately enable employers to complete and submit their Employer Reconciliation Declaration bi-annually.

To ensure that the information contained in this statement is clear and comprehensible, we have amended the manner in which financial transactions are being displayed. Some of the key enhancements include:

  • Descriptions were enhanced to provide employers with a better understanding of the two types of transactions reflected i.e. liability and non-liability transactions
  • All liability transactions are now grouped together and sorted in transaction date order with the exception of non-financial transactions with a date earlier than the first day of the period
  • The addition of a receipt number for payments and journals will allow employers to uniquely identify payments and reconcile them back to their bank statements
  • ETI transactions which have no impact on the PAYE account, have been grouped together and will reflect at the bottom of the Statement of Account.

We are continuously striving to enhance our systems and forms and trust that the enhancements made to the SOA will promote ease of doing business with us.

We are introducing new look e-format forms on eFiling for the PAYE Interim Reconciliation which opens on 16 September 2019.

SARS is continuously striving to enhance our systems and forms aiming to promote ease and fairness of doing business with us. As a result we are introducing cleaner format forms which will be available on eFiling but not on e@syFile. We will make the new format available for e@syFile at a later stage but until such notice e@syFile will maintain the current screens.

Our eFiling platform will adopt a new look and feel for the EMP201, EMP501, EMP601 (Tax Certificate Cancellation Declaration), EMP701 (Reconciliation Declaration Adjustment) as well as the interim Employee Income Tax Certificate (IRP5/IT3(a)s – for the six month period: 1 March to 31 August 2019).

We encourage employers to make use of SARS eFiling. Please note that the SARS eFiling registration process will be simplified and will take place via the SARS website and no longer via the URL.

Please note that you will only be able to use eFiling if you are registered as an eFiler and that you may be asked to visit a SARS branch to confirm the information given.

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