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

Support for Business – COVID-19 Employment Tax Incentive

Update 3 April:A resource which may be of use to you is the “Disaster Management Tax Relief FAQ’s”, created by SARS. Contents of note within this document are:

  • An outline of the requirements to be able to claim employee’s tax relief
  • An outline of the expansions made to the Employment Tax Incentive (ETI)
  • A worked example of how the 20% PAYE tax deferral will work

Please note that there is also information on provisional tax deferral. We regret to inform you that this is beyond our scope of services and so we are not able to assist with this scheme.


Please note: The information provided in this blog is correct at the time of writing, but as this is an unprecedented and ever-changing situation, we will do our best to ensure we keep ourselves and our clients up to date. Please check back regularly for updates – we will also notify you of these by email and system notifications.

Should you have any queries over the content or processes to follow within this blog, please contact our support team via [email protected]

Traditionally, the Employment Tax Incentive (ETI) was intended to promote youth employment, so to address youth unemployment in South Africa. In order to qualify for the standard ETI, certain criteria around employee ages, citizenship and remuneration have to be met. In return for this, in the first 24 months of employment, the employer’s PAYE liability can be reduced. The amount that PAYE liability can be reduced is dependent on the wage bracket that the employee falls within as well as whether it is their first or second year of employment. More info on these requirements is available on our ETI help page.

What are the features of The New COVID-19 ETI Scheme?

Coming into force on 1 April 2020, the COVID-19 ETI scheme will run for 4 months. There are a number of changes which will benefit both those who already qualify under the standard scheme, as well as those that otherwise would not.

Additionally, the frequency of reimbursement payments by the South African Revenue Service (SARS) will be increased from bi-annually to monthly, ensuring that compliant employers retain capital.

Employers already able to claim

Employers who are currently eligible to partake in the scheme, or who are already claiming in either their first or second year, are able to claim an increased reduction in PAYE liability.

For those currently in or going into their first year under the scheme, the maximum amount claimable as a PAYE reduction has increased from R1000 to R1500.

For those currently in or going into their second year, the maximum amount claimable as a monthly PAYE reduction has increased from R500 to R1000.

Employers that would otherwise not be able to participate in ETI

The Government has introduced the following two expansions to the rules for people that can claim over the coming 4 month period. Companies employing individuals falling under this broadened category are entitled to a monthly PAYE liability reduction of R500. The expansions are for:

  • Employees aged 18 to 29, for whom the full 24 months of regular ETI have already been claimed.
  • Employees aged 30 to 65.

This therefore means that employees between the ages of 18 to 65, who meet all other criteria, qualify for the expanded ETI, benefiting their employers. We would strongly recommend that, if you have any employees whose monthly remuneration is between R2000 and R6500, you explore this opportunity.

Requirements to Partake in the Scheme

In order for employers to qualify for this scheme, they must have been registered for PAYE with SARS on or before 1 March 2020. Any employers who were not registered with SARS at this point should instead look into the applicability of the standard ETI.

It is unclear as to the requirements for payroll software in accommodating how this deduction needs to be recorded. We are anticipating clarification of this point today, 1 April, and we shall provide you with an update of how to claim the sums for qualifying employees on SimplePay before your next payroll submission.

We hope this information aids you in this time of uncertainty, we will continue to do our best to assist you where we can with any queries you may have. Watch this space for new posts on support for the Industrial and Tourism sectors, as well as an extremely useful summary sheet on the various UIF forms, codes and their utility.

Keep well. Stay home. Stay safe.

Team SimplePay

Should you have any queries over the content or processes to follow within this blog, please contact our support team via [email protected]

Expansion of Custom Items Based on System Items

In March 2019 we announced a new feature that allows you to create customised items that follow the same tax and payroll rules as certain system items. It proved to be so popular amongst you, our users, that there were requests to allow for more system items to be customised. We’re happy to say that we have now expanded this feature to also include the following items:

  • Provident Fund
  • Subsistence Allowance Local
  • Subsistence Allowance International
  • Travel Allowance

Remember, this feature allows you to:

  1. Create multiple items of a certain type
  2. Customise the names of these items
  3. Map different versions of a specific type of item to different Xero accounts

How does it work?

When creating a custom item (Settings > Custom Items > Add), there is an option to select create a copy of an existing system item. Select the system item that you wish to use and give it a custom name. You can then add it to your payslips in the same way you would the system item of that type (Regular Inputs or Payslip Inputs).

Read our help page here for more information on creating custom items.

If you need assistance on this, please reach out to our support team who would be happy to help.

Team SimplePay

Override Payslip End Dates in Bulk

We are happy to announce the release of a new feature that allows you to override payslip end dates in bulk. This feature is used to extend or shorten the payment period for a specified payslip.

This feature is particularly useful for companies that have an annual shutdown and pay their employees upfront for the period that they are on leave. If an employee is paid upfront for their leave period and the payslip end date is not changed to reflect this, then it is likely that the employee will overpay tax. This is because an employee’s year-to-date income earned and the length of period in which it was earned is used to calculate tax. Therefore, payslip dates must accurately depict the period for which the income is earned to ensure that the tax calculation is accurate.

Of course, overriding payslip end dates in bulk is not exclusively for annual shutdowns and this feature can be used in various contexts.

For more information on how to use this bulk action, refer to our help articles:

We hope that this new feature enhances your payroll processing experience. If you have an annual shutdown in December, be sure to bookmark this blog post for use later in the year.

If you need any further assistance, please reach out to our support team.

Team SimplePay

Issues and Other Matters Arising From New eFiling

Please take note of the following issues and other matters regarding SARS eFiling:

(1) Consolidated Profiles

SARS is consolidating profiles where payroll administrators or individuals have more than one profile on eFiling.

For payroll administrators, SARS is now authenticating all existing users and migrating them to one single profile.

Individuals with multiple profiles will be required to choose a primary login from a list after logging into eFiling with any one of the profiles. Once the primary login is chosen, the indivdual must link the other logins as “Portfolios” to his/her profile.

See the following resources for more information:

Manage your user profile (paragraph 7.2 onwards)

Guide to the Auto Merge Function

(2) SARS eFiling Portfolios

The role in which you act is referred to as the SARS eFiling Portfolio. Only Tax Practitioner and Organisation portfolios can have multiple tax entities loaded on SARS eFiling, while Individuals cannot. Therefore, if you are a SimplePay client that does payroll for multiple firms, you should use the Organisation portfolio.

The 3 types of Portfolios referred to above can be defined as:

  • Individual: A person acting on his/her own behalf for his/her own taxes
  • Tax Practitioner: A Tax Practitioner that is registered with a recognised controlling body, acting on behalf of another tax paying entity and authorised by a signed Power of Attorney.
  • Organisation: A person acting as a representative of a tax paying entity, either as a representative taxpayer or as an appointed representative with a signed Power of Attorney.

(3) Tax Certificates not Pre-populating for Individuals

An error occurs on SARS eFiling under certain circumstances when an individual completes his or her ITR12 (Income Tax return):

  • When completing an ITR12, the tax certificate information is pre-populated in the annual return. However, when the individual saves the return and then requests a calculation, the “Creation wizard” defaults the “Unemployment” questions as YES, and the tax certificate that was linked is unlinked and is no longer available.

SARS is working on this issue. The workaround to re-link the tax certificate is:

  • The user must set all questions relating to unemployment as NO in the “Creation wizard”
  • SAVE the return, and then
  • REFRESH the DATA.

However, this will have the effect that the user must complete all the relevant information.

Team SimplePay

Customise System Items

SimplePay is all about you, our users. So when you asked for more power to customise the system to suit your payroll needs, we listened. We’re delighted to announce our latest feature – the ability to create custom items that follow the same tax and payroll rules as system items.

This new feature allows you to:

  • Create multiple items of a certain type:
    • Commission
    • Once-off Commission
    • Employer Loans
    • Garnishees
    • Maintenance Orders
    • Savings
  • Customise the names of these items. For example, you may want to differentiate between different types of commissions.
  • Map different versions of a specific type of item to different Xero accounts. For example, you may want to give an annual bonus to two different employees but you want one of them to be mapped to an account in Xero called “Director’s Costs” and the other to an account in Xero called “Employee Costs”. You can add the bonus to the payslips as two different items.

How does it work?

When creating a custom item (Settings > Custom Items > Add), there is now an option to select create a copy of an existing system item. Select the system item that you wish to use and give it a custom name. You can then add it to your payslips in the same way you would the system item of that type (Regular Inputs or Payslip Inputs).

Read our help page here for more information on creating custom items.

August 2017 Employer Interim Reconciliation Filing Season

The August 2017 Employer Interim Reconciliation filing season is now open and you have until 31 October 2017 to submit your Employer Reconciliation Declarations (EMP501s) for the period from 1 March 2017 to 31 August 2017, in respect of the Monthly Employer Declarations (EMP201s) submitted, payments made, Employee Income Tax Certificates [IRP5s / IT3(a)s] and ETI, if applicable.

You can refer to the SARS website for news about this.

Remember that we have a help page about the bi-annual filing process, as well as a guide – to take you through it step by step.

Please pay particular attention to the checklist in the guide, which will help you eliminate unnecessary validation errors when trying to upload files to [email protected]

An updated version of [email protected] is already available, and it is very important that you use the latest version: 6.8.1. Please remember to make a backup of your current information on your computer before installing a new version of [email protected]

We are happy to inform you that we have already made all the necessary updates to the system that were required because of the changes SARS made for this filing season. You will now, once again, be able to generate an export file of your tax certificates on the Submissions tab and upload this file onto [email protected]

One notable change introduced by SARS is the increased reporting requirements for ETI, which include new and amended ETI source codes. Another consequence of the requirement for increased reporting on ETI is a slight change in the way tax take-on balances are captured – and some action might be required on your side.

When you do the pre-validation on our system (as described in the guide linked to above), you might get some IRP5 code errors – especially if you started using SimplePay after 1 March 2017 and if you already had employees who had qualified for ETI when you entered take-on balances.

Many of these IRP5 code errors should be resolved when you enter the additional ETI take-on information that SARS now requires. This should be done individually for all employees mentioned in the IRP5 code errors as follows:

  1. Go to the employee’s profile.
  2. Click on Take-On Balances under Actions on the right.
  3. Click on Edit Balances.
  4. Enter the monthly ETI Wage and ETI Hours information for the same months for which you had previously entered ETI Claimed and Remuneration information.
    • More information about ETI Wage is available here. Please note the distinction between remuneration and wage.
    • More information about ETI Hours is available here.
  5. Re-do the pre-validation and check that the IRP5 code errors related to ETI take-on information have been resolved.

As always, please feel free to contact us at [email protected] if you have any questions or need assistance in resolving the IRP5 code errors.

The SimplePay Team

2017 Employer Annual Reconciliation Filing Season

SARS has announced the dates of the 2017 Employer Annual Reconciliation filing season. This year it will run from 18 April to 31 May 2017.

Please note that this is slightly different from other years, where the filing season started on 1 April.

You will have until 31 May 2017 to submit your Annual Reconciliation Declarations (EMP501s) for the period 1 March 2016 to 28 February 2017, in respect of the Monthly Employer Declarations (EMP201s) submitted, payments made, Employee Income Tax Certificates [IRP5s / IT3(a)s] and ETI, if applicable.

An updated version of [email protected] should be available from 18 April 2017, so it is not advisable to attempt to do your filing before then. Please remember to backup your current information on your computer before installing a new version of [email protected]

Remember that we have a help page about this bi-annual filing process, as well as a guide – to take you through it step by step.

Please pay particular attention to the checklist in the guide, which will help you eliminate unnecessary validation errors when trying to upload files to [email protected]

You can also refer to the SARS website for news about this.

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

The SimplePay Team

2016 Payroll Changes – Additional Medical Tax Credit

With the start of the new financial year looming ahead of us, lawmakers have been hard at work drafting legislative changes that will require Payroll administrators to keep their wits about them if they want to keep up.

To make your life easier, we make it our business to keep abreast of any and all changes that could effect how you process your payroll. In the coming weeks, we will be posting some of the most interesting changes that you should be taking note of, so be sure to check back regularly.

One of the most significant changes taking place in the upcoming financial year, is the introduction of the Additional Medical Tax Credit (AMTC).

This credit serves to give tax relief to employees who are over the age of 65, in the form of an increased Medical Tax Credit for each month.

As of 1st March 2016, employees aged 65 and up will be eligible to receive an additional reduction to the monthly amount of PAYE withheld to the value of 33.3% of the excess total contribution paid to the medical scheme that exceeds three times the regular Medical Tax Credit value. This Additional Medical Tax Credit will be reported separately from the Medical Tax Credit on the tax certificate.

For example:

An employee makes a monthly contribution of R1500 to his medical aid and has no dependents. The Medical Tax Credit in this case would be R270.

To calculate the Additional Medical Tax Credit, we first need to determine difference between 3 x R270 and the contribution. In this case the calculation would be as follows:

R270 x 3 = R810

R1500 – R810 = R690

R690 x 33.3% = R229.77 Additional Medical Tax Credit

This employee would then receive a total tax credit tax credit to the value of:

R270 (Medical Tax Credit)
+ R229.77 (Additional Tax Credit)
= R499.77 (Total Medical Tax Credit)

You’ll be glad to know, that our development team has been hard at work in order to ensure that this feature will be ready to go from the first of of March, with absolutely no additional input required from your side.

As always, if you have any comments or concerns, feel free to get hold of us in the comments or through our super helpful support team 🙂

Updates in SimplePay for the 2015/2016 Tax Year

We are pleased to announce that SimplePay clients are once again some of the first to be informed of the relevant changes for the new tax year.   As from 01 March 2015, your payroll will automatically meet all the requirements for the 2015/2016 period, as announced in the 2015 Budget Speech on 25 February 2015.

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

As expected, that tax tables have changed with inflation, with tax rates increasing by 1 percentage point for individuals earning R181 901 and above.

  • 2015/2016 Tax Rates:
Taxable Income (R) Rate of Tax (R)
0 – 181 900 18% of taxable income
181 901 – 284 100 32 742 + 26% of taxable income above 181 900
284 101 – 393 200 59 314 + 31% of taxable income above 284 100
393 201 – 550 100 93 135 + 36% of taxable income above 393 200
550 101 – 701 300 149 619 + 39% of taxable income above 550 100
701 301 and above 208 587 + 41% of taxable income above 701 300

The primary rebate has increased from R12 726 to R13 257.

The tax threshold has also increased from R70 700 to R73 650

The medical aid tax credit has increased as follows:

  • The tax credit for the main member plus first dependent has increased from R257.00 to R270.00 per month.
  • For every additional dependent, the tax credit has increased from R172.00 to R181.00 per month.

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

  • The allowance for incidental costs within South Africa has changed from R103.00 to R109.00.
  • The allowance for meals and incidental costs within South Africa has changed from R335.00 to R353.00.

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

If you have any questions relating to the above changes, you are welcome to contact SimplePay support to assist you with these queries.

The SimplePay Team