Half-yearly employer reconciliations, third-party declarations to Sars due

15th September 2020 By: Tasneem Bulbulia - Creamer Media Reporter

The South African Revenue Service (Sars) says the interim employer reconciliation and third-party declaration period is now open and will close on October 31.

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 March 1 and August 31, 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.

Third parties such as financial institutions, investment schemes and medical schemes, besides others, are required to submit declarations such as medical contributions by members and expenses not covered by the medical scheme, interest earnings, retirement annuity contributions, amounts emanating from any investment, rental of immovable property and interests or royalties, among other declarations.

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 states.

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 noncompliance. Employer and third-party compliance, importantly, enables Sars to provide a seamless experience for individual taxpayers when fulfilling their tax obligations, the organisation notes.

LEGISLATIVE & SYSTEM CHANGES

The Covid-19 Tax Relief Measures announced by the Minister of Finance earlier this year, provided employers with deferral relief for PAYE, a four-month SDL 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, starting on October 7 and ending on March 5, 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.

The latest version of e@syFile is available for the interim reconciliation period. It has been updated for increased user-friendliness as part of Sars’ service commitment to make compliance easier for taxpayers.

Moreover, Sars says it has amended the Statement of Account to include details of the deferred payments under the Covid-19 Tax Relief Measures. This will allow qualifying employers to remain compliant.

Sars notes that it 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.

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.