Tag Archive: Legislation Update


All RSA companies are required to submit their SARS interim PAYE reconciliation that is due from 01 September – 31 October 2013, including their employee tax certificates and EMP501 reconciliations for the period 01 March to 31 August 2013.

Employers also need to ensure they make use of the latest SARS e@syFile software release, which they can download from the SARS website, www.sars.gov.za. Without downloading the software companies will not be able to successfully submit their interim PAYE reconciliations and transfer the data electronically to SARS.

Philip Meyer, technology director at Sage Pastel Payroll & HR, says legislation dictates that each and every employee in a company must be registered on the SARS database with their own tax number. Therefore individual income tax reference numbers must be reflected in the SARS interim PAYE reconciliation. If one or more tax certificates do not include the tax reference number, companies will receive an error notification in e@syFile and will be penalized.

Companies using an automated payroll software solution can obtain employee tax reference numbers via bulk ITREG functionality and the e@syFile Employer system to simplify the reconciliation.

Another important requirement for companies is to comply with new legislation pertaining to employees making use of company vehicles leased by their employer. Meyer says the fringe benefit value is the rental contract plus the fuel cost for the month. However, the rental contract must be classified as an operating lease.

“New source codes were also introduced in the event that the employer pays a lump sum to the family of a deceased employee. The first R300 000 of the lump sum is tax free but the portion exceeding R300 000 is taxed by way of a SARS directive and the lump sum must be reported against code 3922 and the PAYE on the lump sum must be allocated to code 4115.

Meyer adds that companies can receive step-by-step assistance from a SARS Contact Centre agent through the SARS Help-You-eFile, a service innovation introduced by SARS to give companies access to SARS contact centre agents online.

“Use of a reputable payroll software system will result in a smooth interim PAYE reconciliation, as the software will automate the reconciliation process for the company. Some payroll solutions require only that users load their employees’ information and payslips. Therefore no manual calculations are required so that companies simply upload the file to e@syFile.”

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A Legislative Look at 2013

By Rob Cooper, Director of Legislation Updates and Proposed Legislation at Softline VIP, part of the Sage Group plc.

Rob Cooper

Rob Cooper

The dawn of 2013 brings a number of legislative changes that are looming on the horizon.

Proposed changes to the South African Labour Relations Act (LRA) and the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) are on the cards for 2013 in the wake of massive protest action that has crippled the country.  Some of the proposed changes include the fact that minimum wages can be prescribed by the Minister of Labour.  Public officials are also proposed to have the power to prohibit strikes in their sectors.  It is also proposed that Unions must ballot and get majority agreement to strike or picket, but there is strong opposition from Cosatu who see this as a curtailment of their freedom to strike and one wonders whether this will be in the final legislation.

Fortunately, the debate whether labour brokers should be closed down or regulated, seems to have gone the way of stricter regulation.  A decision has however been passed that ‘Atypical’ employees become ‘Deemed’ employees after six months.  The upheaval in the industry has seen the number of labour brokers dramatically reduce from 3,234 in 2010 to 2,685 in 2011.

These proposals have been pushed through Nedlac, despite labour and business differences.  Parliament’s labour portfolio committee is to finalise last ‘discussions’ with amendments to the respective bills having been published on 22 October 2012.  The effective date is yet to be announced.

Employment Equity Act proposals were recently released by Nedlac that will see the act continuing to focus on provincial targets instead of national demographic targets.  Increased fines and powers are proposed in addition to the introduction of the concept of equal pay for work of equal value.  These proposals could quite possibly be rolled out in conjunction with the BCEA and LRA amendments.

South Africa has a Total of 19,5 million unemployed people, of whom 4,5 million are ‘officially’ unemployed in addition to 60% not having a matric.  Of the youth under the age of 25, around 50% are unemployed.  Unfortunately the Youth Subsidy, which had reached a fairly advanced stage, was given the political boot at the ANC’s June policy conference, to be replaced by a ‘Job seeker Grant’, of which there are no details available.  It is expected that more information will be released at the Mangaung elective conference.

Tax Relief for Medical Expenses is expected to change in either March 2013 or March 2014, from a deduction calculation to a ‘Medical Tax Credit’ method of calculation. Contribution expenses for all taxpayers are to be defined, while an assessment method to calculate the tax relief on total medical expenses is to be tabled.  These proposals will result in a gradual reduction of the value of our current tax relief which has been the trend over the past two years.

The National Health Insurance project is set to be a fourteen year project of which the total cost is still being debated.  The Budget 2012 funding options were to increase the VAT rate; or to increase the surcharge on taxable income; or to introduce a payroll tax contribution.  Thus far the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement remained silent on the subject, though a Treasury discussion document is expected soon.

There will be a major move towards the standardisation of retirement funds and there are many reasons for the proposed changes.  The poor performance by some private retirement funds is a major catalyst as is the prevailing low retirement savings level in the country.  Also the tax and administration rules around retirement funds are simply too complex.

The purpose of the change is to ensure that all retirement funds have the same administration and tax rules.  The intention is to utilise the tax and administration rules that are applicable to retirement annuities and to replicate it for retirement funds.  There are many ‘vested interests’ to be protected and it will only be applicable to South African residents.  The roll-out is tentatively planned for March 2014.

Proposals for a National Retirement Fund have also been tabled, which will take the form of a mandatory statutory fund that provides pension, life insurance and disability benefits.  The fund is to be phased in over the next four years and will place pressure on the private sector retirement funds.

Proposed changes to the Unemployment Insurance Act will affect ‘Credit days’ which is proposed to be calculated as one calendar day for every four calendar days employed.  The proposal will also see an increase in the income replacement rate and may remove certain exclusions or limitations in the Act.

The introduction of the virtual UIF office system allows individuals to apply for UIF benefits electronically.  It effectively eliminates the need to queue at the labour office, reduces the cost of ‘accessing’ the benefit and reduces the benefit approval time from about four weeks to 48 hours.

These are just some of the changes lined up for 2013 and we will continue the discussion as we near the budget speech in the New Year.