ETI Refresher and Employer Reconciliation Recap

The calendar’s page has been turned over to November, which means that for the vast majority of you, the interim filing season is done and dusted! Our blog post today contains a refresher on ETI balances and the effect of tax periods on them, in addition to a polite reminder for any clients still to complete their filing.

Carrying Forward Unutilised ETI 

You may remember that as part of the Government’s response to COVID-19, ETI was adapted to increase both the number of eligible employees and the amount claimable per employee. Due to the scheme’s increased uptake, we thought it would be helpful to give you a brief refresher of some important points.

Under the rules that govern ETI, if your total ETI for a certain month is greater than your overall PAYE liability, you can have the balance rolled over to the following month(s). This roll-over is only allowed within any one six (6) month tax period – March to August and September to February, after which any unutilised ETI which you haven’t claimed as a payout from SARS is forfeited. As the extended COVID-19 ETI ran for the months of April to July 2020, these all fell within the last bi-annual filing period of March to August. Therefore, from August the usual roll over rules applied, meaning that any unutilised ETI is not rolled over, but should rather be claimed as a refund from SARS.

SARS has stated that despite the challenging circumstances brought about by the pandemic, these rules stand and that any ETI balance that you may have held will not be extended beyond the 31 August cut-off point. Despite this support measure no longer being available, we hope that the lesser restrictions means your business continues to regain a sure footing.

We’d also like to take this opportunity to remind you of the importance of correct and timely ETI submissions and claims, as the penalties for non-compliance can be severe. For more details, check out our ETI help pages.

Filing Reminder

Having gotten through another interim filing period, we hope that our continued endeavours to make payroll a breeze has made this filing season the smoothest yet for you! If you have not yet filed your EMP501 and IRP5 / IT3(a)s, the deadline was the end of October. We urge you to complete your filing as soon as possible, as the sooner you do this, the lesser the prospective penalty for late submission. If your EMP501 remains outstanding for several months, you could face a maximum penalty of 10% of the total amount of your employee’s tax deducted for the 2021 tax year.

If we can assist at all, please reach out to our support team who will assist you as best they can in resolving any issues you are facing with submission.

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 check out our website? Or, better yet, try out our service for free with our 30-day trial, get acquainted with our user-friendly service by reading our getting started page, or take our free online course

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

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

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

Update: New Individual Tax Returns Process

Individual Tax Returns

Back in May we sent out a blog reminding you of the annual employer reconciliation deadline, but also informing you of a delay to the deadline for your employees’ individual tax returns (ITR12s) from their expected opening date in July. This year, the window for manually entered individual tax returns opens on 1 September 2020. SARS has, however, also subsequently unveiled a new additional returns process which will be put into action over the month of August.

Under the “auto-assessment process” employees can have their returns filed and assessed without needing to complete the usual manual process through one of SARS’s channels. On 1 August, provided that individuals have had all their necessary information declared to SARS, they should receive an SMS. This will communicate an invitation to review a draft assessment on eFiling or the SARS MobiApp. If the draft assessment is correct, they can accept it, meaning that they don’t need to manually complete and file a tax return through one of SARS’s regular channels in September. Should a refund be due, it should follow within a week. The process that would need to be followed if the individual owed SARS was not mentioned. We will remain vigilant for any elaboration on this.

A further point to note is that if at the start of August, SARS have not yet received all the necessary information for an employee, but subsequently receive it during August, SARS will invite the employee to file early under the same system.

Come 1 September, if employees have not been auto-assessed, or chose to decline the draft assessment, they will be able to start the filing process via eFiling or the MobiApp. Additionally, there will be some availability for filing in branches, by prior appointment only. 

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, 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: www.simplepay.co.za.

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

Annual Employer Reconciliation Period Deadline

With 31 May just around the corner, this blog is a friendly reminder that the Annual Employer Reconciliation Period deadline is fast approaching. As mentioned in our blog on 8 May, all the necessary changes were made to the SimplePay site at the start of this month, so all that is left is to jump in and complete your IRP5/IT3(a)s!

As mentioned in this previous blog, SARS has rolled out the Employer Tax Validation system for the first time, which will cross-check SARS calculated value for the SDL and PAYE amounts, with those submitted.

Despite the pandemic, SARS has made it clear that it will not be altering its policy on late submissions, meaning that if you do submit late, you could be subject to penalties of up to 10% the value of the payroll.

We hope that this information proves useful to you. If you have any queries on how the above relates to payroll and the SimplePay system, please feel free to get in touch with our customer support team at [email protected]

Keep well. Stay home. Stay safe.

TeamSimplePay

P.S. Individual Tax Returns: 

SARS has announced a delay in the deadline for Individual Tax Returns (ITR-12s) from its normal place in July, to September 2020. The online filing period for individuals in 2020 will prospectively run between 1 September and 16 November 2020.

Submitted Files of UIF Declaration Now Available

One of the benefits of being a SimplePay user is that you can submit your UIF Declarations (UI-19 forms) directly to the Department of Labour with the click of a button. This allows you to completely bypass uFiling, making the filing process more convenient and less time consuming.

The data in the UIF Declaration is submitted to the Department of Labour in the required file format. For readability and user-friendliness purposes, SimplePay provides you with PDF and Excel versions of these UIF Declarations. We have now expanded our UIF functionality for successful submissions to include a download of the submitted file. While the format of these files may not be as useful for payroll administration, they do serve as a record of the actual file submitted, should there be any queries or disputes with the Department of Labour.

To download this file:

  1. Go to Filing
  2. Navigate to the relevant month
  3. Under the Electronic Status heading in the UIF Declaration section, the status should be “confirmed” (Note: the file is only available for successful submissions)
  4. Click on the icon next to “confirmed” to download the file

Please note: Should you need to open these files, you will need to rename the file to include “.csv” at the end (and remove the abbreviation for the current file format). This will allow you to view the file in Excel, Google Sheets or another spreadsheet application.

For more information about monthly submissions, head to our help page here.

If you require any assistance regarding this functionality, please do not hesitate to contact our support team.

Team SimplePay

Employment Tax Validation Process

In today’s blog we will be providing a brief overview of the tax validation process, carried out by SARS on the IRP5/IT3(a) certificates. Back in 2019, SARS announced its intention to validate PAYE, SDL and UIF on tax certificates. This blog therefore details the process and extent which they have put this goal into action.

As of the 2020 tax year, SARS is holding employers more accountable for ensuring that they deduct the correct PAYE. This is being done through a validation process, where SARS performs calculations on the tax certificates submitted by employers. Where SARS has determined that employers are not withholding the correct amount of PAYE, the employer will be responsible for taking corrective action. This includes recovering the amount from employees or facing the penalty of paying it on behalf of employees in cases where the employer under-deducted PAYE.

For the 2020/02/28 submission period, SARS will be validating PAYE and SDL amounts submitted.

If any discrepancies are found between SARS’ and the submitted values, a notification and accompanying file are issued to highlight any discrepancies. Employers can then review the report to determine whether the correct taxes were declared on the tax certificate, or if any amendments are required. 

Although SARS does not reject any certificates during the tax validation process, employers must ensure that taxes are correctly calculated. The SARS website states the following:

Note: The purpose of the Payroll Tax Validation letter is to inform the employer of discrepancies on the amount of tax or levies that were deducted for employees. All the certificates submitted were accepted and processed and will be pre-populated on the employee’s income tax return (ITR12).

Locating the Flagged Certificates

For details on how to locate the error report on [email protected] or eFiling and action any errors, please refer to our help page, linked here.

UIF Validation

SARS has stated that for the current filing season they will not be validating the UIF contributions, due to the fact that the value for remuneration in calculating UIF is not present on EMP201s and SARS is also not able to apply the monthly limit. This will therefore need to be double checked by employers to ensure they have the correct value.

Process to Follow for Over and Under Deductions.

The process to follow to correct any over or under deductions can be found on this SARS webpage.

In both cases, it may be necessary to amend the respective certificates. The existing certificate can be amended (i.e maintaining the certificate number), provided that there are no changes to:

  • the type of certificate (IRP5 or IT3(a); 
  • the transaction year; or
  • the year of assessment.

If any of the above does need to be amended, the original certificate must be cancelled and replaced with a new one (yielding a new certificate number).

For any amendments to your certificates, please contact us so we can assist you in doing this on the system. Along with the request, please provide:

  • The SARS tilde (~) delimited file (essentially the error report).
  • Details of the over/under deduction that has been flagged and the employee(s) which it / they relate to.
  • The CSV file from the original submission.
  • Any additional relevant information that you have, which will be of assistance.

We hope that this information proves useful to you. Upon reading the blog and the attached SARS webpage (above), if you find yourself in need of making any amendments to your certificates, please feel free to get in touch with our customer support team at [email protected]

Catch Up Corner

SDL Payment Holiday

In our previous blog about the draft Disaster Management Bills, we mentioned SDL prospectively being set to zero from the start of May until the end of August 2020. We have now implemented this change, so any payslips finalised going forward will reflect the zero SDL value on the EMP201. For employers who have already finalised their EMP201s for May, we will assist you with zeroing the SDL contributions.

Expansion of Parental Leave Benefits

It is now possible for employees taking adoption or commissioning parental leave to claim a certain amount from the UIF when on their leave period. The related SimplePay help page can be found here, with a further link on the page as to how this leave can be recorded on SimplePay.

If you have any queries on the SDL payment holiday or the leave benefits, you can contact our customer support team at [email protected]

Keep home. Stay well. Stay safe.

Team SimplePay

Interim Filing Season Now Open

The Interim Employer Reconciliation filing season with SARS is now open and ends on 31 October 2019. The interim reconciliation covers the six-month transaction period from 1 March to 31 August 2019, and the final annual reconciliation in April/May 2020 will cover the full tax year.

During the reconciliation process, you are required to submit an EMP501 return confirming or correcting the amounts declared for PAYE, SDL, UIF and ETI, as well as the payments made. This ensures that your EMP201 submissions are correct and up-to-date. In addition, failure to complete the interim reconciliation means that you will forfeit any ETI credits that have overrun in the first 6 months and will therefore not receive any payouts for this.

Remember that SimplePay automatically generates the IRP5s / IT3(a)s and EMP501 needed for bi-annual filing with SARS. SimplePay also automatically incorporates any new legislative changes, such as new codes or tax rules, simplifying the filing process for you.

The reconciliation process can be completed using [email protected] (recommended) , eFiling (for less than 50 tax certificates), or at a SARS branch (for less than 5 certificates). Version 6.9.7 of [email protected] was released today, 23 September 2019. You can download it here and read up about the changes incorporated in the latest update
here. Please remember to back up your current information on your computer before installing a new version of [email protected]

For more information about the bi-annual filing process, refer to this help page. We also have a useful guide to take you through it step by step. The guide contains an important checklist which will help you eliminate unnecessary validation errors when trying to upload files to [email protected]

If you have any queries or need any assistance, please contact our support team.

Team SimplePay

Change in Tax Rules for Bargaining Council Funds

As of 1 March 2019, all contributions made by employers to funds provided by Bargaining Councils should be treated as a fringe benefit and are therefore subject to tax. These funds include, but are not limited to sick and holiday funds for employees that belong to the Bargaining Council. Note that if the fund administered by the Bargaining Council is a retirement fund, the taxation rules for retirement funds that are effective from 1 March 2016 (and that provide for a tax deduction to reduce the taxable benefit value) are applied.

In some instances, both you (the employer) and the employee contribute to the fund. The taxable fringe benefit is equal to your contribution and should now be reported on the IRP5/IT3(a) under the following new codes:

  • 4584: Employer contributions to a Bargaining Council Fund
  • 3833: Taxable benefit iro Employer contributions to a Bargaining Council Fund

Employee-paid contributions do not impact PAYE (they are not tax deductible) and therefore are not reported.

What action do you need to take?

If you set up these contributions using a Custom Employer Contribution item, you need to update this custom item on your payroll or Bargaining Council template to a Custom Benefit item.  This will ensure that the contribution is treated as a taxable fringe benefit.

A new checkbox has been added which allows you to indicate that the Custom Benefit item is a Bargaining Council Item. This ensures that the new tax codes are applied to the custom item.

If you have many companies and need to automate this process, please get in touch with our Support team to discuss possible solutions.

If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Team SimplePay