Filing Reminder and TERS Update

In the blog today we are writing to remind you about both the interim employer reconciliation and the individual income tax return deadlines, in addition to an update on COVID-19 TERS. Both of the filing submission periods are now open and we recommend that you complete your submissions in good time to avoid any complications.

Employer Interim Filing Season

This year the employer interim reconciliation submission period will run between 14 September and 31 October 2020. Within this period you will need to submit your EMP501 return and your employees’ IRP5 / IT3(a)s to consolidate the period between 1 March and 31 August.

As mentioned in our previous blog post, SimplePay automatically generates these forms from your previous submissions, with all the latest legislative changes taken account of. All you need to do is log onto [email protected] or eFiling and submit the required forms. It really is that easy!

Manual Individual Income Tax Return 

If you have already completed SARS new auto assessment process in August, as covered in this blog post, then you have already met your obligations and don’t need to do anything further. This reminder applies to you if you rejected or did not receive an auto assessment from SARS, but need to complete an individual income tax return.

If this is you, the submission period for individual income tax returns is between 1 September and 16 November 2020 if you are filing online. You can log into eFiling or the SARS Mobi App to complete your manual return.

COVID-19 TERS Update

The past few weeks have been challenging for the UIF with respect to COVID-19 TERS. The audit carried out showed a number of shortcomings in the validation steps for applications, which led to various misallocations of funds. As a result payments were halted on 11 September and access to the TERS portal was down over the past weekend to maintain and improve the process’s safeguards. The resumption of the payouts is yet to be announced, but we shall endeavour to let you know when this happens.

An additional point of note is that for those that meet the application requirements, TERS benefits have been extended to 15 September. The application deadline for this period is 30 October, after which no new applications will be accepted.

For all other application periods i.e. March to 15 August, the deadline for new applications is 17 September.

Update 16 September: The closing dates for new have been changed  as follows:

 New applications for March to end of May the deadline is now 25 September 2020. 

New applications for June the deadline is now 15 October 2020.

New Applications for July to 15 September the deadline is now 30 October 2020.

The media statements on the audit findings can be found here and the announcement of an extension to COVID-19 TERS can be found here.

We hope that this information has proved useful to you. If you have any questions on how the information above relates to SimplePay, please feel free to contact us at [email protected]

Equally, If you are not yet a client of SimplePay but would like to be, why not try out our service on the house? You can sign up for your free 30-day trial here. Get to grips with our user-friendly service by reading our getting started page, or trying our free online course. Concerned about cost? Don’t be; we’ve simplified that too – check out our pricing page. Alternatively, you can request a formal quote if you need one here.

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

Extension of PAYE Deferment and Interim Employer Filing Reminder

There has long been a question mark over whether the Government is going to extend the duration of the 35% PAYE deferment to support the ongoing challenges that businesses face. We had been waiting for the release of the Government gazette to confirm this, but as it is now 7 September we want to inform you of the possibility that your PAYE liability may be reduced on this month’s Statement of Account from SARS.

In the blog post today we’ll explain what this extension would mean and change, as well as providing you with a brief reminder of the upcoming employer interim reconciliation period.

35% PAYE Deferment Update

In addition to the Government’s announcement extending COVID-19 TERS (covered in this blog post), they are now also expected to extend the 35% PAYE deferment to include the month of August. This might mean when you complete your monthly filing today, the amount of PAYE you have to pay in your monthly EMP201 return may automatically be reduced by 35%. EMP201s should be generated and submitted as normal on SimplePay, with the full amount of liability stated, then SARS will reduce the amount owed by the corresponding amount.

The value of this additional month’s deferred payment will be added to the values of the previous months. The repayments for the deferred PAYE liability will be spread equally across 6 months, with the first payment being due on 7 October 2020 and the last on 5 March 2021.

Mention of the extension can be found on this SARS page, dated 28 August.

Employer Interim Reconciliation Reminder

The submission period for the 2020 / 2021 employer interim reconciliation period opens on 14 September. During the reconciliation period you need to submit your EMP501 return and employee IRP5 / IT3(a)s, consolidating the period of 1 March to 31 August 2020.

Staying true to our ongoing commitment to make your payroll obligations a breeze, SimplePay automatically generates these forms for you, with all the latest legislative changes already incorporated.

You can complete the filing process using eFiling if you have less than 50 employees, or alternatively with [email protected] for any number of employees. You might also be able to complete the process in branch by prior arrangement, but we would encourage you to use one of the online methods. More on [email protected] can be read on this page.

We hope that you have found the above information useful. If you have any questions on how the information above relates to SimplePay, please feel free to contact us at [email protected]  

If you are not yet a client of SimplePay but would like to be, Why not try out our service on the house? You can sign up for your free 30-day trial here. Get to grips with our user-friendly service by reading our getting started page, or trying our free online course. Concerned about cost? Don’t be; we’ve simplified that too – check out our pricing page. Alternatively, you can request a formal quote if you need one here.

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

Claims Request Expanded to Include Employee Hours Worked

Last month we brought you a new feature that allows employees to submit certain claims via the self-service portal (refer to our 6 August blog post). We have now expanded this functionality to include Basic Salary inputs for hourly paid employees.

Hourly paid employees can now submit their hours worked for the month*, which will then need to be approved by the approver for claims. Once approved, it will automatically be added to the next draft payslip for the employee.

As with all types of requests, employees and approvers can attach supporting documentation (in this instance, it may be a signed time sheet) or leave comments.

*Note: Payroll administrators will first need to allow Basic Salary inputs via self-service before this option is available to employees.

For more information on this functionality, refer to the following help article:

Employee Claim Requests

Not a SimplePay client? Our self-service portal allows employees to view payslips and tax certificates, update their personal information and submit leave and claims for payslip items. It’s one of the many features that makes payroll with SimplePay so easy. Not convinced? We offer a free 30 day trial that lets you try out our system to see if it suits your payroll needs. You can sign up for the trial here.

Team SimplePay

Huge ETI Update and Improvements

Managing Employment Tax Incentive (ETI) claims can be difficult and time-consuming. However, it can also be highly beneficial for many employers and is well worth taking advantage of where you can.

Over the years we’ve taken note of the difficulties faced by our clients and have used this feedback to improve our system and your experience. Our team has been hard at work to deliver a massive ETI update, which will greatly improve and simplify your ability to correctly claim ETI and includes the following changes:

Backdating: You can now set an effective date for an employee’s ETI that’s in the past. You can also do the same for other ETI settings, like minimum wage. This allows you to update your ETI setup so that your ETI on SimplePay matches your records ensuring that your current claims are correct. In some cases, it may even result in further claims for ETI.

More effective handling of under-claims: SARS has specific rules for how ETI under-claims should be handled. More info can be found on our help site, but in short, you are only allowed to claim for ETI that you under-claimed in the current bi-annual filing period. For example, we are currently in the 1 March to 31 August bi-annual filing period, therefore under-claims for periods before 1 March will be forfeited. Any under-claims for the current bi-annual filing period have to be claimed in the current month if the ETI is for a month whose EMP201 deadline has already passed. The system will now assist you in remaining compliant with this and with making these claims.

Better auditing: Seeing ETI values change on your EMP201s has often been a cause of confusion for our clients. Going forward, the system will allow you to track the source of such changes, providing a clearer audit trail and helping remove some of the stress and confusion around ETI.

Stay in sync with employee information: When correcting a setup error which impacts ETI, (such as changing an employee’s date of birth), you now have the ability to recalculate historic ETI immediately. This functionality gives you the ability to claim historic errors immediately, rather than having to wait until bi-annual filing. As always, we advise clients to be very cautious when entering information used for calculating ETI.

The following help articles provide more information on ETI and how it works (including the changes mentioned above):

Reminder:

It’s important to note that the August EMP201 is the last time you’ll be able to claim ETI under-claimed for the period March 2020 to July 2020. Any ETI for the current bi-annual filing period that was not claimed will have to be forfeited after the August EMP201.

Want to claim ETI but don’t have the right payroll software to help you? 

SimplePay clients love having a hassle-free payroll experience that keeps them compliant and keeps up to date with changes in the payroll landscape. Not convinced? We offer a 30 day free trial that lets you see just how easy payroll can be. You can find out more and sign up here.

Team SimplePay

Lockdown Level 2

Note: This information was correct at the time of writing, being based on the Government’s related media releases.

Today (18/08/2020) is the first day that South Africa has dropped down to lockdown level 2 out of 5. But what does this actually mean? In today’s blog we shall outline the new changes and provide a summary table of what changed between each level of lockdown. 

Level 2

Travel and Accommodation

For the first time since 27 March 2020, people living in South Africa are allowed to travel between provinces for leisure purposes. This relaxation comes at the same time as the removal of the limit to the range of accommodation facilities which can be used, meaning that those of you in the hospitality sector can once again welcome nationwide guests. 

Gatherings

Under level 2, provided that you observe the Government Regulations on social distancing and health protocols, a number of gatherings are now permitted. This further expands the number of businesses that are able to operate under level 2. You can read the full list of permitted gatherings in section 55 of the Government gazette, but we have picked out a handful of the most relevant ones below:

  • Accommodation establishments and tour operators (up to 50% of available floor space, with patrons at least 1.5 metres apart)
  • Bars, taverns, shebeens and similar establishments (up to 50 people)
  • Concerts and live performances (up to 50 people)
  • Tourist attractions
  • Gyms, subject to guidelines (up to 50 people)
  • Swimming pools (up to 50 people)
  • Sports grounds and fields
  • Beaches and public parks

Sale of Alcohol and Cigarettes

The Government has relaxed its stance on the sale of alcohol, meaning that bars, restaurants and other institutions with a license to sell alcohol on-site can again do so, provided strict adherence to the 10pm curfew.

Additionally, alcohol can now be sold in shops between the hours of 9am to 5pm. Cigarettes may also now be sold in shops.

Businesses that must Remain Closed

Despite the majority of businesses, there are a number which must remain closed at this moment under level 2. These are:

  • 1. Night clubs
  • 2. International passenger air travel for leisure purposes
  • 3. Passenger ships for international leisure purposes
  • 4. Attendance of any sporting event by spectators
  • 5. International sports events
  • 6. Exclusions relating to public transport services as set out in the directions issued by the Cabinet member responsible for transport

Comparative Table of Lockdown Levels

Below is a comparative table between lockdown levels 5 to 2. If changes were made within the period of a certain lockdown level, the changed position will be recorded within the table. For a more detailed evaluation of the level, you can click on the link at the head of each column.

Lockdown LevelFive (5) Four (4)Three (3)Two (2)
Effective Date27/03/202001/05/202001/06/202017/08/2020
ShoppingFood, medicine and healthcare onlyFood, medicine, healthcare and limited others Most shopping reopened, but alcohol and tobacco sales remain prohibitedMajority of shopping reopened
TravelNone, except essentialNone, except essential and for businessBusiness travel and Intra-provincial leisure travelAll Inter-provincial travel, including domestic flights
Permitted GatheringsNone, except for funeralsFunerals, workplaces and obtaining certain goods and servicesA large number of gatherings permitted, subject to conditionsA large number of gatherings permitted, including amateur sport and small social events
Public SpacesClosedLimited number open, e.g. exercise permitted between 6 – 9amLimited number open for activities e.g. exercise between 6:00 – 18:00Open, subject to the Minister announcing closure and adherence with health protocols
Workplaces  Open for the provision of Food, medicine and healthcare onlyOpen for the provision of Infrastructure, manufacturing and food, as well as some other services.Majority reopened, except for some accommodation establishments and nightclubsMajority reopened
LeisureNoneNoneLarge number of services reopened within provinces, minus gyms, sports facilities, beaches and othersMajority of services reopened, minus nightclubs, spectating live sport and limited others

We hope that you have found the above information useful. If you have any questions on how the information above relates to SimplePay, please feel free to contact us at [email protected]  

Equally, if you are not yet a client of SimplePay but would like to be, or if you’d like to know how we can take the effort out of filing and calculating payroll, you can get a formal quote, sign up for our 30-day free trial or learn how to get set up on SimplePay. Alternatively, you can get in touch with one of our amazing support team at [email protected] 

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

Automatic Quote Generator

We consider ourselves fortunate to have grown steadily over the years without the need for extensive marketing campaigns. We’re truly grateful to you, our clients, for spreading the word on our product and the service that we offer. As people hear about us through word of mouth, the first question that usually gets asked is, “Ok, but how much does it cost?”.

We’ve always maintained transparent pricing through the fees graph on our pricing page and there are never any hidden fees – one monthly fee that gives you full access to all that we offer.

We’re now making the process of determining the cost even easier with the introduction of an automated quote generator. Prospective clients (and existing clients that are expanding) that would like a formal quote can get a PDF quote sent directly to their email inbox. This quote uses the same pricing from the pricing graph.

To use this feature, go to https://simplepay.co.za/request_quote, complete the details needed for the quote and click the Request Quote button. You’ll then receive the quote in your inbox within a few minutes.

Alternatively, you can navigate to this page by first going to https://simplepay.co.za/cost and then clicking on the link in the sentence “If you would prefer a formal quotation, we’ve made that simple too.”

It’s as simple as that!

Team SimplePay

End of Week Blog: 14 August

As we approach the halfway point for the month of August, today’s blog post will be looking at recent  COVID-19 TERS announcements, updates from SARS and a recap of some of our recent blog posts.

TERS Update

On 12 August, the Department of Employment and Labour announced that the opening of TERS applications for July / August will be on Monday, 17 August. This followed the Minister signing a Directive on the application of TERS for these months.

The Directive states that for the July / August period, applications can be made for employees whose employers are:

  1. not permitted to commence operations under the Disaster Management Regulations; 
  2. unable to make alternative arrangements for vulnerable works, (e.g. working from home or taking special measures); or are
  3. unable to make use of their employees’ services, due to restrictions to the permitted active workforce, caused by compliance with Directions and Regulations, such as staggered working.

The application process should be the same as for the previous months, with proof of disbursements to employees being required if you are selected to act as a conduit, in addition to the bank verification process.

To read the Directive, its explanatory memorandum, or an updated set of FAQ’s for the upcoming application process, you can visit this Department of Labour webpage

Reminder: Employer Interim Reconciliation Submission

The interim employer reconciliation period which runs between March and August ends this month, meaning that you will need to submit your EMP 501 and IRP5s / IT3(a)s next month. The submission period opens on 15 September and concludes on 31 October.

[email protected] BETA Testing

SARS is currently running final tests on the latest version of [email protected] in time for Employer Interim Reconciliation in mid-September.

Enhancements will include:

  • New source codes on the IRP5 to incorporate the legislative changes 
  • New letters regarding Remittance of Penalties and Interest, Notice of Non-Compliance Penalty 
  • Amended letters regarding excessive liability changes on the Employer Reconciliation, Employment Tax Validation, Notice of Assessment 
  • Amendment of PAYE dashboard 
  • Upgrade of the BETA Testing site 
  • Resubmission of rejected EMP501 reconciliation 
  • Time out while downloading a new version of [email protected] Employer 
  • New summary report of all certificates included in the EMP501 Reconciliation 
  • Synchronisation of eFiling and [email protected] Employer logons 

We are incorporating all the new codes and tax rules to our system, meaning that come September you can automatically generate the IRP5s / IT3(a)s and EMP501 needed, and submit them to SARS. Easy as that!

NEW FEATURES AND UPDATES

PAYE vs Income Tax

We have changed the labelling of Pay As You Earn (PAYE) on payslips from “Tax” to “Tax (PAYE)”. If you’d like to know more about our reasons for us doing this and the differences between the various forms of income tax, take a read through our blog.

Family Responsibility Leave

We have updated the name of Compassionate Leave to Family Responsibility Leave on SimplePay, to align our site more strongly with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. You can read more about this in our blog post.

Self-Service Employee Claim Request

We’ve expanded our self-service features to allow employees to claim expenses, travel allowances and custom items of various input types.

If you’d like to opt-in for these new and expanded features, you can find out how and read more about them here.

Employee Filtering Revamp

Having had requests to switch up how you’d like to be able to filter employees on SimplePay, we’ve listened and made some changes. You can read about our newly introduced and adapted filters in our blog post from 4 August.

RECAP

Easing of Tourism Restrictions

On 30 July, we updated you on the new rules for the tourism industry under level 3 of lockdown. You can read more about these relaxations here.

Business Turnaround and Recovery Programme

The Business Turnaround and Recovery Programme is aimed at intervening to help companies in distress or decline to re-strategise and put their business back on to a profitable trajectory.

If this sounds an interesting prospect, you can read more about the eligibility criteria and how to apply in our blog post.

We hope that you have found the above information useful. If you have any questions on how the information above relates to SimplePay, please feel free to contact us at [email protected]  

Equally, if you are not yet a client of SimplePay but would like to be, or if you’d like to know how we can take the effort out of filing and calculating payroll, get in contact with us or visit our website.

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

PAYE vs Income Tax

You might have noticed that we’ve renamed ‘Tax’ on the system and on payslips to ‘Tax (PAYE)’. Tax is often used as a general term for the tax attached to a particular transaction. The term’s meaning therefore differs according to the context in which it is used, such as ‘sin’ tax in the tobacco industry or sugar tax in the soft drinks industry. In the context of payroll, tax refers to PAYE (Pay As You Earn). We’ve made the change to the label as a reminder that PAYE is distinctly different from income tax for individuals, even though they are related.

Income tax for individuals refers to the tax on your world-wide earnings, which can be divided into:

  • Tax on employment earnings, such as your salary, fringe benefits and allowances; and
  • Tax on non-employment earnings, such a rent income. 

PAYE is a method of collecting income tax that applies to your employment earnings. Amounts subject to PAYE are taxed at the time of payment on the payslip. Some employment earnings are not subject to PAYE and the income tax on these is only payable on assessment* e.g. subsistence allowances where the amount is above the prescribed rate. 

Non-employment earnings are collected via provisional tax payments** and on assessment*.

*Tax on assessment refers to the tax due after an individual submits their income tax return (ITR12) annually to SARS (usually via SARS eFiling). The tax due on assessment is the difference between the income tax calculated for the individual for the year and the amounts that they’ve paid throughout the year via PAYE and provisional tax**.

**Provisional tax refers to payments made directly to SARS after registering and filing for provisional tax on eFiling. You can read more about provisional tax on this SARS webpage.

All of the above can be shown illustrated as follows:

Please note that SimplePay only assists with the calculation of PAYE and not any of the other income tax collection methods. However, to reduce the amount payable on assessment, employees can opt to pay additional income tax via PAYE. This is done via the Voluntary Tax Over-deduction system item – this is only allowed if there is an agreement between the employee and the employer. More information on Voluntary Tax Over-deductions is available on our help page here.


Not a SimplePay user but want a system that easily calculates your employee’s PAYE and helps you prepare their payslip? SimplePay takes the hassle out of payroll. We offer a 30 day free trial that allows you to explore the system and see just how easy and stress-free payroll can be. To find out more or to sign up for a trial, click here.

Team SimplePay

Compassionate Leave is now Family Responsibility Leave on SimplePay

Since our inception, we’ve been using the global term ‘Compassionate Leave’ to represent short-term leave taken by employees when a close family member is ill or passes away. This leave type is also referred to as Bereavement Leave in some countries, while South African legislation has called it ‘Family Responsibility Leave’ since 1997 (although Compassionate Leave and Family Responsibility Leave are often still used interchangeably in practice).

Due to increasing queries on the subject, we’re clearing up any confusion by bringing our labelling in line with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. After all, local is lekker. Compassionate Leave is therefore now labelled as Family Responsibility Leave. Admins can expect to see this change on the system, in reports and on payslips, while employees can expect to see the changes on payslips and in the self-service portal.

Don’t worry, this change does not impact leave balances, leave entitlement or any other aspect of how leave is calculated. As always, SimplePay takes the hassle out of system updates as all changes have automatically been applied to the system. All you need to do is sit back and remember the new lingo on the system.

If you’re an admin user and want more information on Family Responsibility Leave, head to our help article here

Not a SimplePay client but want to record Family Responsibility with ease? SimplePay takes the hassle out of payroll and leave management. We offer a 30 day free trial that allows you to explore the system and see just how easy and stress-free payroll can be. To find out more or to sign up for a trial, click here

Team SimplePay

Easing of Tourism Industry Restrictions Under Level 3

On 30 July 2020, the Minister for Tourism gave a speech on the relaxation of certain lockdown measures affecting the tourism industry. Subsequently, these announced changes have been released in a Government gazette, meaning that you are now allowed to do the actions referred to in the speech. In the blog today we will be picking out the key aspects of the speech and explaining what exactly you can now do under level 3 of lockdown.

Restaurants

The nine o’clock curfew has had a greater adverse impact on the restaurant industry in comparison to most others. This restriction has had the effect of limiting the number of prospective customers at one of the busiest periods for restaurants. 

Responding to this, the Government has extended curfews to 10pm, thus accommodating later dinner services.

Leisure Accommodation

Restrictions to domestic and leisure travel have resulted in a large, if not total, shrinkage in business for accommodation establishments.

As of 1 August,  if you are an accommodation establishment, you will be able to welcome customers from within your own province. We must emphasise that this easing is only for intra-provincial travel, i.e. no travel between provinces for leisure purposes. There are also the following two provisos:

  1. No more than two people per room is allowed (except for parents staying in a room with their children).
  2. Short term home rentals and home sharing remains closed.

Safari Tour Operators

Prior to the new Regulations, only self-driven safari tours were permitted under level 3. The changes mean that if you are a tour operator, you can carry out open air guided tours, subject to certain directions.  

COVID-19 Loan Guarantee Scheme

Use of the newly revised COVID-19 Loan Guarantee scheme was encouraged by the Minister in her speech. The new revisions aim to make it easier for companies in all sectors to access loans for operational costs, on preferential terms.  You can now also apply for business restart loans to assist you in the costs of reopening your business.

More information on the scheme and the changes in requirements can be found in this official guide.

Tourism Sector Recovery Plan

On 1 August, a draft of the Tourism Sector Recovery Plan was released for public comment. Subject to amendments, this provides you with a roadmap for how the Department for Tourism aims to navigate through the coming months.

Reading the draft recovery plan should give you a better understanding of the Department for Tourism’s strategy for rejuvenating the tourism sector is. If you want to give any input on the recovery plan, this must be sent to [email protected] by 15 August 2020.

We hope that you have found the above information useful. If you have any questions on how the information above relates to SimplePay, please feel free to contact us at [email protected].  

Equally, if you are not yet a client of SimplePay but would like to be, or if you’d like to know how we can take the effort out of filing and calculating payroll, get in contact with us or visit our website.

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay