July Recap Blog

With yet another month in 2020 having come to an end, it is time to recap on the month of July and look ahead to what August has to offer!

COVID-19 TERS Extension

Update 4 August: The cut-off point for April and May TERS applications has been extended and closure will be subject to 14 day’s notice – Read more here.

As was covered in our blog on 21 July 2020, deputy Minister Moloi announced the extension of COVID-19 TERS to 15 August, aligning this with the extension to the Disaster Management Act. 

Applications for April and May close today, 31 July 2020, but we are still waiting for an announcement on the opening of applications for July.

Please also note that as previously mentioned the home page of the TERS application portal has been altered. A new message outlining urgent steps for the employer to take, in order for the UIF to be able to authorise payment of an application. Please take a look in case any action on your part is required for claims already submitted.

Use of the Reduced Working Time Category to Claim Benefits

The UIF has stated that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of applications for UIF under the reduced working time benefits code. This shows that a significant number of employees are likely receiving financial support through their accrued UIF benefits of receiving these through TERS. The UIF and Department of Labour have reiterated that TERS is the better option for employees as long as it remains in force.

In our blog about the time spans of the different COVID-19 support measures, we detailed the need to move employees across to UIF benefits upon the conclusion of the TERS scheme. With the abovementioned extension to TERS, switching employees should be delayed until at least 15 August 2020.

SARS Auto-Assessment Process

As mentioned in our previous blog from 7 July, SARS is rolling out a new, streamlined individual tax return service in August. Rather than having to manually complete your individual tax return, it may be automatically assessed if you meet SARS’ conditions. The new service will be run throughout the month of August and provided SARS has all the necessary tax information they need (IRP5 etc.) you and your employees will receive an SMS inviting you to review your statement and accept it if you are in agreement with it.

For more information on the scheme and an FAQ you can visit the SARS Auto-Assessment page.

Steps to Follow

  1. Log into eFiling or the SARS MobiApp.
  2. Click on “Tax Returns” 
  3. A pop up will appear stating “SARS has simulated a tax return for you. Click “Continue”.
  4. Once the ITR12 has loaded you can either select “Accept” or “Edit Return”.

If you have selected accept, you will be redirected to a list of your submitted ITR12s, or alternatively if you wish to edit your ITR12 you can do so.

If you have accepted the tax return SARS should issue you with an ITA34 Notice of Assessment. After you have received this that’s it, you’re done!

SARS has also provided video guides which you can find here.

Bi-Annual Tax Period

The end of August marks the halfway point through the tax year, meaning that soon after it will be time to start preparing for interim filing. Due to SimplePay’s continuing commitment to make your payroll life straightforward, we will endeavour to make sure that we have completed all necessary preparations and testing for when the interim biannual filing opens.

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: www.simplepay.co.za.

Keep well and stay safe.

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

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

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

New SARS Code and System Item for Disaster Relief Funds

There are several organisations outside of government, such as the South African Future Trust (SAFT), providing COVID-19 relief funds for employers to keep paying their employees. The relief is usually offered in the form of a loan to employers and is paid directly to employees. To assist with the special tax treatment and reporting requirements for these payments (see below), SimplePay has created a new system item: COVID-19 Disaster Relief.

Tax Treatment

As outlined by the Disaster Tax Relief Bill, these payments are not included in remuneration for PAYE, SDL and UIF and therefore are not subject to tax. Although these payments are not included in remuneration for PAYE, SDL and UIF, they are included in remuneration for the purposes of calculating ETI.

Reporting on Tax Certificates

SARS has created a new tax code, 3724, for reporting these payments on IRP5s/IT3(a)s. This is outlined on the SARS website here.

Using the COVID-19 Disaster Relief System Item

To make use of the new system item created by SimplePay:

  1. Go to an employee’s profile
  2. Click on Add next to Payslip Inputs
  3. Under Other, select COVID-19 Disaster Relief
  4. Enter the Amount of the relief paid to the employee
  5. Click Save

You will notice that the payment is listed on the payslip as a Benefit and does not impact the Nett pay payable to employees. This is because the relief payments are made directly to employees by the organisation. The system item is simply used for satisfying the tax and reporting requirements and not to facilitate payments.

These details are also outlined in our help page here.

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

Team SimplePay

Updates in SimplePay for the 2020/2021 Tax Year

As we enter the new tax year on 1 March, we’d like to remind you that there is no need to do a manual year end as in other payroll systems – simply continue processing payslips into the new tax year.

When you need to do your filing, the correct period will automatically be used and the relevant documents will be generated. For more information, please see our help site.

In addition, our system has already been updated in order to ensure that you are always compliant. We are pleased to inform you that as from 1 March 2020, your payroll will automatically meet all the requirements for the 2020/2021 period, as announced in the 2020 Budget Speech on 26 February 2020. If you are still processing payroll for the 2019/2020 tax year, the old tax tables will still be used, as you’d expect.

Here are some of the most important changes that you will see in your payroll for the coming year:

2020/2021 Tax Rates

The tax rates for individuals have remained the same as last year, with the tax brackets, thresholds and rebates increasing.

Taxable Income (R)Rate of Tax (R)
0 – 205 90018% of taxable income
205 901 – 321 60037 062 + 26% of taxable income above 205 900
321 601 – 445 10067 144 + 31% of taxable income above 321 600
445 101 – 584 200105 429 + 36% of taxable income above 445 100
584 201 – 744 800155 505 + 39% of taxable income above 584 200
744 801 – 1 577 300218 139 + 41% of taxable income above 744 800
1 577 301 and above559 464 + 45% of taxable income above 1 577 300

The tax threshold has increased from R79 000 to R83 100 because the primary rebate has increased from R14 220 to R14 958.

Medical Aid Tax Credit

The medical aid tax credit has increased as follows:

  • The tax credit for the main member and first dependant has increased from R310.00 to R319.00 per month.
  • For every additional dependant, the tax credit has increased from R209.00 to R215.00 per month.

Subsistence Allowance

The ‘tax free’ portion for the subsistence allowance** has increased as follows:

  • The allowance for incidental costs within South Africa has changed from R134.00 to R139.00.
  • The allowance for meals and incidental costs within South Africa has changed from R435.00 to R452.00.

**It is important to note that the subsistence allowance is only a guideline provided by SARS and is not legislated.

Travel Allowances

  • The rate per kilometer for reimbursive travel allowances has increased to 398 cents.
  • The rates per kilometre which may be used in determining the allowable deduction for business travel against an allowance or advance where actual costs are not claimed, are outlined in the following SARS table:
Value of the vehicle (R)Fixed cost (R p.a.)Fuel cost (c/km)Maintenance cost (c/km)
0 – 95 00031 332105.837.4
95 001 – 190 00055 894118.146.8
190 001 – 285 00080 539128.351.6
285 001 – 380 000102 211138.056.4
380 001 – 475 000123 955147.766.2
475 001 – 570 000146 753169.477.8
570 001 – 665 000169 552175.196.6
665 001 and above169 552175.196.6

Foreign Income Exemption

A cap of R1.25 million per year has been placed on the exemption of foreign income earned by South African tax residents. Any foreign employment income earned over and above R1.25 million will be subject to tax for the particular year of assessment.

No changes were announced for the common payroll components of UIF and SDL.

If you have any questions relating to the above changes, you are welcome to email us at [email protected] to assist you with these queries.

The SimplePay Team

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

Requesting Income Tax Numbers from Job Seekers

SARS have requested that employers amend their hiring practices as they do not require employees to have an income tax number before starting a new job.

SARS would like to encourage all employers to use online platforms to obtain income tax numbers. It will save employees and job seekers unnecessary time at branches, ultimately allowing you to hire faster and/or get new employees working productively sooner. It will also eliminate the administrative burden of having to follow up with new employees for tax numbers and avoid delays from being given the incorrect tax number.

If you’re a SimplePay user, you can obtain the tax numbers when doing bi-annual filing with our [email protected] export file. If you need more information about how easy bi-annual filing is with SimplePay, head over to the Filing and Processes section of our help site here. Importing the file from our system into [email protected] will automatically create employees on the [email protected] system if they are new employees. Then, use the ITREG function to obtain tax numbers for employees. This is explained in a clear step-by-step guide (with screenshots) in section 5 (page 105) here.

If you need further information or assistance with this process, be sure to be in touch with our support team who are happy to help.

Team SimplePay

2019 Employer Annual Reconciliation Filing Season

The 2019 Employer Annual Reconciliation filing season will soon be opening on 17 April 2019 (it is usually 1 April but has been delayed due to system upgrades at SARS). You have until 31 May 2019 to submit your Annual Reconciliation Declaration (EMP501) for the period 1 March 2018 – 28 February 2019 to SARS.

SimplePay automatically generates the IRP5s / IT3(a)s and EMP501 needed for year-end filing with SARS and these are available under the Filing section of the menu. Submissions of your EMP501 can be done via eFiling or the [email protected] application. You may need to update your [email protected] application to the latest version, 6.9.4. This can be done 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]

As always, please feel free to contact us at [email protected] if you have any questions.

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