Pretoria, 14 September 2020 – As part of ensuring that the South African Revenue Service (SARS) provides certainty and clarity of the legal obligations of the employers and third parties, SARS wishes to announce that the interim employer reconciliation and third party declaration period is now open and closes on 31 October 2020.
In the case of employers – large and small, a reconciliation of the first six months of declarations of employment taxes, monthly payments of these taxes and employee tax certificates (IRP5 and IT3(a) certificates) generated between 01 March and 31 August, is due.
The elements that must reconcile in the employer declaration on staff earnings for the first half of the year, include the monthly employer declarations submitted for Pay As You Earn (PAYE), Skills Development levy (SDL), Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), and Employment Tax Incentive (ETI) as well as the monthly payments of these amounts and the employee tax certificates generated depicting the values for PAYE, SDL, UIF, and ETI where applicable.
Failure to fulfil these obligations may attract penalties and potentially criminal charges.
The focus of SARS will be on the accuracy and completeness of what is submitted by employers and third parties, to avoid the many errors and corrections still experienced. These errors and corrections have a negative effect on the individual taxpayers that they relate to. SARS is refining its risk mitigation and detection measures, and sharpening its existing audit and investigation capacity to identify and collect the tax due and address non-compliance. Employer and third party compliance, importantly, enables SARS to provide a seamless experience for individual taxpayers when fulfilling their tax obligations.
Legislative and system changes
The Covid-19 Tax Relief Measures announced by the Minister of Finance earlier this year, provided employers with deferral relief for Pay As You Earn, a four-month skills development levy holiday, and an enhanced employment tax incentive, as per the amended Disaster Management Tax Relief Administration Bill (DMTRAB). The DMTRAB requires deferred amounts to be paid in six equal monthly instalments, commencing on 7 October 2020, till 5 March 2021. SARS has implemented these measures, but has not relaxed its deadlines for the submission of declarations and payment where relief has not been sought and thus penalties apply for late or non-submission.
SARS is directly communicating with third parties and payroll administrators to assist with filing and training where required. Similarly, on the enforcement side, SARS is engaging third parties, in particular, employers who have outstanding monthly returns and payments.
Voluntary Disclosure for prior years
SARS invites employers to regularise any tax defaults from prior years through the Voluntary Disclosure Programme (VDP). A successful application through the VDP process waives penalties pertaining to the default disclosed, which otherwise could range up to 200%. VDP applications can be made on eFiling.