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

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

New Feature: EMP201 Breakdowns and Variances

If you’re managing a business or department, you know the importance of tracking variances and maintaining an audit trail. Similarly, if you manage the submissions to SARS, it is important to be able to track any changes to your payroll which impact your submission and resubmit if necessary. What if there was a way to make these easier? Well now there is! Introducing the expanded EMP201 web view.

In a previous blog post, we introduced the ETI breakdown, accessible from the EMP201 web view. We have now applied the same concept to other areas of the EMP201, with breakdowns available for PAYE, SDL and UIF. 

Each breakdown shows a list of your employees and the total PAYE, SDL or UIF calculated for each employee. 

Remember, you can view the PAYE, SDL and UIF trace for each employee by going to their profile (announced in this blog post).

We have also created a variance feature for months where more than one EMP201 has been generated. Remember, if you make changes to your payslips after your EMP201 is finalised, a new EMP201 is generated so that you have a clear audit trail for resubmitting to SARS if needed. The breakdowns for any updated EMP201s now also show the differences between the PAYE, SDL, UIF and SDL in the updated EMP201 compared to the previous EMP201. The differences are shown per employee and the total difference is shown at the bottom of the breakdown.

We hope you love this new functionality and the benefits that it provides.

Need more information? The following help articles may be useful:

Not a SimplePay client? The EMP201 form and all functionality covered in this blog post and on our help site are only available to SimplePay clients. The good news is that we offer a 30 day free trial and sign up is a breeze! You can find out more and sign up for a trial here. Come and experience the joy of stress-free payroll.

Team SimplePay

COVID-19 Support Measure Timeline and Switching Support Options

Update 15 July: The UIF has released a statement that in order for them to authorise the disbursement of TERS benefits, you must enter your Enterprise number or ID number of the bank account holder. Failure to do so will result in delays.

Following on from the President’s speech last Sunday, 12 July, concerns over a spike in coronavirus cases has led to an extension to level 3 of lockdown. The effect of this is that many businesses and their employees will likely have to continue relying upon support to remain operational. In the blog today we want to outline the timelines for the existing COVID-19 support measures, thus helping you in making an informed decision for the coming phase of transition.

Timeline of Support Measures

Dependent on any announcements from the Government, as of 15 July 2020, this is the current timeline for the rolling up of support measures.

1 July 2020

Update 22 July: The UIF has announced an extension of the COVID-19 TERS scheme to 15 August 2020.

COVID-19 TERS scheme ceases to operate, meaning that TERS benefits cannot be claimed for July. Despite this, the Minister announced that there has been no cut off date put forward for claims to be made for the months of April, May or June. Therefore, if you are yet to apply for these months, you should do so as soon as possible.

NB: As per the above update, the home page of the TERS application portal has been altered, with a new message outlining urgent steps for the employer to take, in order for the UIF to be able to authorise payment of applications. Please take a look in case any action on your part is required for claims already submitted.

1 August 2020

35% PAYE deferral reaches completion, meaning that repayments start to become due for the amounts  deferred over the last 4 months, These repayments will be spread equally across the 6 months after the scheme finishes. It appears SARS will calculate these repayments and add them to your Statement of Account – please see question 10 SARS’s FAQ for more detail.

Additional and Extended ETI period closes, meaning that the original ETI sums and eligibility requirements will be back in force.

1 September 2020

SDL Payment Holiday comes to a close, meaning that employers and their employees will have to resume making contributions. SimplePay will automatically start to calculate SDL contributions again come 1 September. We also anticipate SARS to update their channels to allow for these inputs again. No repayments for the months that the holiday was in force will be necessary.

Alternate Support Systems Remaining in Place

We appreciate that the above list of timelines is quite a change in the tides, but we should reiterate that some of these deadlines could be subject to change. Additionally there are still other support measures available to help you with reducing cash outgoings, whilst your business returns to normality. Below is a non-exhaustive list of examples which you may wish to look into: 

Now is a good time to start planning ahead for how to handle this next transition phase and if necessary look into additional support measures.

Moving From TERS to UIF Benefits

If your business remains closed or affected by the pandemic and you have been reliant upon TERS benefits to help support your employees, now is the time to look into switching your employees onto claiming UIF Benefits.

The Department of Employment and Labour and UIF have released the “UIF Benefits – Easy Guide for Electronic Claims” which provides guidance on how your employees can apply for UIF benefits through uFiling, as well as a list of useful contacts. 

To help make this process as hassle free as possible for you, SimplePay generates both the individual UI 19 and UI 2.7 forms, which are necessary for your employees to be able to apply for benefits in relation to reduced working hours, maternity leave or parental leave. Note that the documents required are different for employees applying for illness benefits.

Further guidance on the correct procedure for you to follow for ending employee service is given in our blog from 6 July. Doing this process correctly will help improve your chances of a smooth transition onto UIF benefits.

We hope that the information we have provided proves useful to you. Should you have any questions on how the above relates to SimplePay or where to find further information on the functionality provided please refer to our Help Site, or get in touch with us at [email protected].

Recap for June

Welcome to the second half of 2020! The year so far has been a bumpy ride and while we realise that the journey is not yet over, we’d like to take a moment to acknowledge and thank you for your support during these first six months. Over this period we have strived for continued excellence in meeting your payroll needs despite the challenge of ever-changing regulations and processes, and thank you for your patience and understanding during periods of high support queries.

As we move forward into the latter half of 2020, here’s a quick recap of the new features and pertinent information from the last month:

NEW FEATURES

Amongst other smaller or less visible improvements and updates, our fantastic development team managed to introduce the following new features in June:

Web View for Payslips

The web view for payslips allows you to see the payslip items that do not impact nett pay directly without having to open the PDF version of the payslip. This view also gives you access to additional traces, such as UIF. Read more.

UIF, SDL, and Retirement Deduction Traces

The web view for a payslip now allows you to see traces for how UIF, SDL and retirement deductions are calculated. Read more.

ETI Breakdown and ETI Trace

A new web view for EMP201s was introduced, with an ETI breakdown and ETI trace, allowing you to see exactly how the ETI on an EMP201 is calculated. Read more.

Download UIF Files and Responses

The introduction of TERS lead to an increased importance being placed on the UIF DecIaration and its timely, monthly submission. In response, we expanded our functionality to include downloads of the actual file submitted to the UIF, as the responses for the UIF submission. Read more.

Deleting Leave Requests

We expanded our functionality for deleting leave to provide a breakdown of leave that cannot be deleted as they are part of a finalised payslip. We also allow the option of deleting leave requests superficially or its entirety. Read more.

End Service Checklist

The End Service Checklist reminds you about positive leave balances, savings and employer loans when ending an employee’s service from their profile. Read more.

Wow! All of that in one month! Pretty cool, right? 

Besides cool features, we also brought you important information updates. This is covered in the next section. 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Additional COVID-19 ETI

The rules for the additional ETI as a relief measure were amended by the government. Our system has been updated to factor these new rules in, so that it’s one less thing for you to worry about. Read more

Advance TERS Payments

We clarified how to deal with situations where you wish to provide advances to employees for TERS payments that are delayed or still being processed by the UIF. Read more.

TERS May and June Applications

The June applications for TERS opened and then subsequently were halted due to technical issues. They are likely to reopen over the weekend or early next week. The May application remains open. Read more..

POPI

The Protection of Personal Information Act came into force and became law on 1 July. Due to our stringent security measures, SimplePay has been compliant with these regulations long before they even came into effect. Read more.

We hope that the second half of the year marks a turning point and sees things improving and normalising. Whatever the coming months hold, we’ll continue to be here to support you and remain committed to providing you with high quality support, informational updates and maybe even a few more features.

If you require assistance, please head over to our extensive help site, which we are regularly updating. If your query cannot be answered using the help site, please reach out to our support team.

Not a SimplePay client but interested in the functionality mentioned in this blog post? 

The good news is that we offer a 30 day free trial and sign up is a breeze! You can find out more and sign up for a trial here. Join now and experience the joy of stress free payroll and SARS filing for years to come 🙂

Team SimplePay

New Feature: UIF, SDL and Retirement Deduction Traces

In our blog post on 5 June, we announced a new ETI trace, which shows the ETI calculation for each employee. Today, we are happy to announce that we have also created traces for the UIF, SDL and Retirement Deduction calculations.

To view these traces, go to an employee’s profile, click on More  next to Preview to  open the web view of the payslip that you are on.

Click on any of the following to open the trace for that payslip item:

  • UIF – employee (new)
  • UIF – employer (new)
  • SDL – employer* (new)
  • Retirement deduction (new)
  • Tax (existing)

When you open the UIF trace, you will then be able to click on Income Subject to UIF to view how the income used in the UIF calculation was determined.

Similarly, when you open the SDL trace, you will be able to click on Income Subject to SDL.

*Reminder: the government has provided an SDL holiday until the end of August. The SDL trace will therefore only be available for payslips after August.

We hope these new features help you to answer some of the questions that you may have on how these payslip items are calculated, so that you can more easily check your payroll and also answer questions that employees may have.

If you need any assistance with these new features, please reach out to our support team.

Team SimplePay

New Feature: ETI Breakdown and ETI Trace

Despite the craziness of the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue our commitment to giving you the best payroll experience. Our team have been hard at work to bring you a web view of EMP201, an ETI breakdown and an ETI trace:

You can now see the information contained in the monthly EMP201s without opening the PDF version of the document. To do this, go to Filing > Monthly Submissions and click on Web in the EMP201 section.

The EMP201 for the month will be opened, showing you a breakdown of the EMP201 figures. You can now see more details for ETI by clicking on the amount next to ETI Calculated.

This will give you a breakdown of the ETI calculated for each employee:

You can then click on the amount next to an employee’s name to see a the ETI Trace, which shows how the ETI for that employee is calculated.

If there is no ETI calculated for the employee, the ETI trace will also show you if the employee has not been enabled for ETI, if they do not meet certain criteria, or if their earnings fell above the ETI threshold.

Pretty cool, right? We hope you love these new features.

If you have any queries regarding the new feature or the information that it contains, reach out to our Support team.

Team SimplePay

Reminder of ETI Minimum Wage Changes for May to July 2020

This is an important reminder that ETI should only be claimed if your employees earn at least the higher of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) applicable to them, or the wage specified by a wage regulating measure (e.g. a sectoral determination), if applicable.

During this time of crisis, more employers than ever are availing of the ETI scheme to help their finances. It is important to get it right, because the penalties can be steep.

You should only enable ETI for employees if you are sure they meet the higher of your sector’s wage regulating measure or the NMW. If your employees are working fewer hours than normal, but still meet the requirement per hour, it’s fine to claim ETI. If they are now earning less per hour than the minimum wage, ETI should not be claimed. Alternatively, if there is a single minimum wage applicable to all your employees, entering it under ETI settings will enable the system to automatically calculate 0 ETI for employees who do not qualify.

If you have not yet done so, you can update your ETI settings as described in this this section of our ETI help article. You can also find more on the COVID-19 ETI in this help article.

Please note that May’s payslips need to be unfinalised in order to effect the minimum wage change for May (if you had not already done so). We generally do not recommend unfinalising payslips as this can cause significant variances if regular items have been changed. Therefore, it is recommended that you take caution when doing this – ensure that you have saved a copy of all payslips, as well as the transaction history report for the period before unfinalising the payslips. You will then need to reconcile your new finalised payslips against the saved payslips used to pay employees.

It is important to note that there were minimum wage changes on 1 March 2020, as mentioned in this blog post.

If you have successfully applied for exemption from the NMW, and also do not have a minimum specified by a wage regulating measure, a minimum wage of R2000 per month could previously be used. However, effective 1 May 2020 to 31 July 2020, such employers no longer qualify for ETI at all.

Additional COVID-19 ETI Changes

In a previous blog post, we informed you of additional ETI as a COVID-19 relief measure. The revised Disaster Management Tax Relief bills have given rise to some changes:

  • The ETI claimable for those in the R0 – R1 999.99 bracket has changed, retrospectively effective from 1 April 2020.
  • Employees with an appointment date before 1 October 2013 are now eligible for the Additional ETI, retrospectively effective from 1 April 2020.
  • As with normal ETI, remuneration should be grossed up and additional ETI for April should be grossed down proportionately if an employee is employed for less than 160 hours per month. This grossing up of remuneration and grossing down of ETI no longer applies, effective 1 May 2020.
*The ETI amount changed for this bracket
** The employee’s wage must not be less than the higher of the minimum wage specified by a wage regulating measure and by the National Minimum Wage Act. This will need to be configured under Settings > Payroll Calculations > ETI.

SimplePay has implemented these changes to the system and automatically applied it to all payslips for April (even finalised ones). Therefore, all you need to do is:

  • Finalise the new EMP201 that is automatically generated by the system
  • Submit the new EMP201 information to SARS

Please also note:

  • The additional ETI is applicable until 31 July 2020
  • To qualify for the additional ETI, the employer must have been registered for PAYE after 25 March 2020
  • Employers that are not subject to a wage regulating measure AND that are exempt from the National Minimum Wage Act are not eligible from the additional ETI benefits for May – July 2020.

For more information, head to our help pages:

If you need further assistance, please contact our support team.

Team SimplePay

Week Recap and Level 3 of Lockdown – Effect on Business

Closing off the month of May and level 4 of lockdown in style, this blog will give a brief overview of what’s been covered this week in our blogs, before turning to what businesses can expect under level 3 in June.

Week Recap

REMINDER – The deadline for the Annual Employer Reconciliation Period is this Sunday, 31 May, as detailed in our previous blog.

Upcoming ETI changes for the May EMP201 blog contents:

  • Revisions to the COVID-19 ETI legislation is being completed in time for May payroll submissions
  • Please delay in submitting for May, we shall ensure the changes are ready for 7 June and shall inform you when the changes are complete

TERS Applications for May Open blog contents:

  • Details of the application process for COVID-19 TERS applications.
  • Key changes between the TERS process for May in comparison to April

TERS: Foreign Workers Update blog contents: 

  • Details surrounding the issue(s) in making a claim for TERS benefits on behalf of foreign employees
  • Possible means of remedying the issue and prospective changes for May applications

New Functionality: Download Responses to Electronic UIF Submissions blog contents:

  • Users can now download responses from the UIF in relation to their monthly UI-19 submissions

Level 3 of Lockdown – Effect on Business

On Sunday 24 May, the President announced that the whole country will move to level 3 of lockdown on 1 June. We thought it would be handy to provide you with a blog on what this actually means for your business. Below we have summarised some of the most relevant points to note for life under level 3.

Which Businesses can now Open?

According to President Ramaphosa, as of 1 June all manufacturing, mining, construction, financial services, professional and business services, wholesalers, retailers, media services and ICT businesses can reopen.

Retailers can be fully reopened, including stores, spaza shops and informal traders. Additionally, airlines will be allowed to reopen, initially for domestic business purposes, with more air travel being phased in on announced dates.

Industries which were open under levels 4 and 5, such as agriculture, medical services and food production, will remain fully open.

In the President’s speech, he stated that the reopening will be contingent on each business creating a workplace plan. This plan must be aligned with the Government’s guidance (discussed below), as well as any protocols released by the relevant sector (if any are released). 

You can read the Government’s notice on lockdown level 3 here. The most relevant sections to this blog are sections 46 and 47. Below are a few key points from subsections of  section 46:

  • Businesses and other institutions with over 100 employees must implement measures to minimise the number of employees in the workplace at one time. Examples given include shift patterns and remote working.
  • Relevant health protocols and social distancing measures must be adhered to, including the screening of employees.
  • Construction, manufacturing, business and financial services firms with more than 500 employees must finalise appropriate sector or workplace arrangements addressing transport, staggering employee working and screening, whilst also documenting these actions.

Under section 47 of the above notice found in the PDF linked below, each business needs to designate a “COVID-19 compliance officer”. The compliance officer needs to implement the aforementioned workplace plan, as well as oversee the adherence to hygiene measures. 

Further details of the requirements of the workplace plan and compliance officer can be found in section 47, on page 14 of this linked document.

Which Businesses must Remain Closed?

Under level 3, a number of businesses must remain closed, these include:

  • Professional Care services e.g. hairdressers, beauty treatments and beauty salons
  • Restaurants, except for the provision of takeaways, drive through services and collection
  • Bars, taverns, shebeens, nightclubs and casinos
  • Hotels, lodges and other accommodation facilities (except for certain permitted guests)
  • Gyms and sports facilities
  • Exhibit and conference centres
  • Cinemas
  • Theatres
  • Museums
  • Flea Markets and bazaars

If we are made aware of any developments for the above mentioned businesses, we shall update you.

Recommendations from Government

For this new list of businesses that can return to work, the President advised that where possible, employees should work from home. Where this is not practicable workplace plans should be in place. Additionally, those deemed especially vulnerable, such as employees over 60 years old and those who suffer from underlying conditions, should ideally work from home. Failing this, the employer needs to ensure that these vulnerable employees have a safe return to work, which may include the use of special measures.

A potential problem which was identified from the reopening of the economy is the use of public transport. It was stated that all commuters must wear masks and wash their hands before and after travelling, as well as avoiding touching their faces with unwashed hands.

The full transcript of the President’s speech can be read by following this link and an infographic summarising level 3 is linked here.

Closing on a positive, to relieve the stress provided by business operations and TERS applications, you now have the opportunity to release that tension by exercising between 6am and 6pm! And on that happy note, we wish you a pleasant and relaxing  weekend.

Keep well. Stay home. Stay safe.

Team SimplePay