Submission Channel Consistency Requested for 2021 Employers Filing Season

In a previous blog post, we discussed the opening of the 2021 employers filing season which runs from 1 April to 31 May 2021 and many employers should now have submitted or be in the process of finalising their filing for 2021.

An important point to note concerning your filing is that SARS requires that employers be consistent in the submission channel used to submit their EMP501 reconciliation and tax certificates for a particular filing period. For example, where an employer submitted their EMP501 reconciliation through SARS eFiling for the August 2020 interim submissions, the employer must not revise their first submission through SARS [email protected], or vice versa. 

Error Reports

As part of the filing process, SARS will recalculate the PAYE and SDL payable for each employee from the amounts which are reported on the submitted tax certificate. 

SARS will then compare the amounts they calculated against the PAYE and SDL amounts that are stated on that tax certificate where there are any significant differences between the two amounts, SARS will issue an error report with details of the tax certificates that have differences.

These error reports will be sent via the same channel that the employer used to submit the EMP501 and the tax certificates. For example, where an employer has submitted their EMP501 reconciliation through SARS eFiling, the error report will be sent to them via the SARS eFiling portal only and will not be accessible via other means.

Re-submission of Tax Certificates

In line with the above principle, corrections to the certificates must only be resubmitted using the same channel that was used for the initial filing.

Changing Submission Channels

You will have the option to use a different submission channel for the next filing period but must again be consistent during that filing period in making use of the same channel for any resubmissions.


If you have any questions on how the information provided in this blog relates to SimplePay, you can contact us at [email protected] 

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

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

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].

Lockdown Update – 29 April

In the blog today we have a clarification on TERS payouts and additional payments by employers. Additionally, we will provide information on possible changes to annuity funds for individuals who are currently drawing down from a living annuity, an expansion to the 35% PAYE deferment as well as other relevant news.

TERS Payouts and Additional Payments by Employers

Update 8 May: If looking for guidance on the calculations relating to the TERS payout and effect of additional employer contributions, please kindly disregard the SAICA guidance below and refer to our latest blog post here.

Update 7 May: The Department for Employment and Labour has not yet started accepting TERS applications for the month of May. They have requested that applicants continue to revisit the website until applications for May become live.

We have received a few queries from employers asking if they may make additional payments to employees after receiving their TERS benefit payouts. Based on our understanding of the scheme as well as other reputable sources, it seems that, not only is this not allowed, but could in fact amount to fraud.

When submitting the TERS application, employers are expected to complete the Leave income during shutdown field with the amount anticipated to be paid to each employee by the company, over and above the TERS payout. The reason for this is that it is taken into consideration in calculating the payout per employee – employers who are able to pay their employees a portion of usual income should do so and will then likely get lower payouts than those employers with zero cash flow.

Failing to accurately declare these amounts and / or subsequently paying additional amounts to employees, could result in employers / employees receiving an “overpayment” from TERS, which in turn amounts to fraud. This opens employers up to potential penalties and legal action.

The South African Institute for Chartered Accountants (SAICA) has recently released a very helpful publication which provides additional information and clarity on the above. The information it contains aligns with information received from the UIF and other stakeholders and we strongly recommend that if you are participating in TERS that you read it  to ensure that you are applying the scheme correctly.

35% PAYE Deferment Update

The number of businesses which can defer the payment of 35% of their PAYE liability without any penalties or interest has increased. The annual turnover threshold has been increased from R50 million to R100 million, increasing the number of businesses that can benefit from this short term cash flow relief.

Businesses with a turnover in excess of R100 million can also apply for this relief, which applications will be dealt with on a case by case basis. The business must prove that it was materially negatively affected by the lockdown, which appears a very ambiguous statement. We are hoping for additional clarity in the coming days.

More information on this can be found on our second lockdown recap blog here.

Delay in Tourism Relief Fund Payouts

The Department for Tourism has delayed the release of funding it has allocated to companies based in the tourism sector, due to a legal challenge. It is awaiting the verdict to be handed down upon whether it is deemed racially discriminatory, that applicants to the fund must be BEE compliant to qualify.

The final verdict shall be released in the next few days, after which it will become apparent whether the allocation of funds can remain, or whether they need to be re-examined.

Annuity Funds

In the  SARS draft explanatory note for the approaching amended bill, a new proposal has been made with regards to helping individuals receiving monies from living annuity funds. This is not directly relevant to payroll, but may assist you during the lockdown period.

There have been changes proposed to the amount of an individual’s annuity fund which can be withdrawn, resulting in added flexibility. Rather than having to wait for the anniversary date of the annuity, it is proposed that for the 4 months between May and August the amounts withdrawn can be altered. This can benefit individuals in two ways:

  1. The heightened band (17.5-20%), increases the amount of money that can be withdrawn, meaning that individuals who need immediate cash flow can gain access to it, by increasing their periodic withdrawal.
  2. The lower band (0.5-2.5%), allows individuals to delay the sale of investments in shares which have underperformed, till a more opportune time.

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]epay.co.za.

Keep well. Stay home. Stay safe.

Team SimplePay