The South African Reserve Bank has decided to decrease the repurchase rate (repo rate) by 25 basis points, effective from 19 July 2019.
The official interest rate used for calculating the fringe benefit on low or interest free loans to employees is set as 100 basis points above the repo rate. This means that the interest rate used for calculating the fringe benefit on employer loans decreases from 7.75% to 7.5%, effective 19 July 2019.
If you’re a SimplePay user, you do not need to take any action to implement the new interest rate, as we have already updated our system to reflect these changes. Therefore, all payslips dated and finalised from 19 July onwards will use the new interest rate. If a payslip dated after 19 July was finalised before the 19 July (i.e. it was finalised in advance), you will need to unfinalise the payslip and then finalise it again for the changes to take effect. As we have built our system to be intuitive, the previous interest rate will be used if you are still preparing payslips dated before the 19 July, regardless of what date you physically finalise the payslip.
If you are unsure of how to capture employee loans or calculate the fringe benefit on them, refer to our help page here.
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.