Tag Archive: Pastel Payroll


Softline, a provider of business management software to small and medium sized companies, today announced that after months of planning they will be rebranding and will be referred to as Sage  South Africa, effective immediately. Softline is the holding company for prominent South African software products such as Pastel Accounting and Payroll, VIP Payroll, Sage 300 ERP (Accpac) and Sage ERP X3. Softline joined the Sage Group plc in 2003 after delisting from the JSE and is the central team of the Africa, Australia, Middle East and Asia (AAMEA) region, a grouping of territories headed by Softline co-founder and CEO of Sage AAMEA Ivan Epstein.

The Sage Group plc, a FTSE 100 company, is a leading global provider of business management software to SMEs with over 6.5 million customers in 24 countries. Epstein attributes the rebranding in South Africa to the alignment with Softline’s parent company, The Sage Group plc. in the continued pursuit of a global brand. “Softline has been part of The Sage Group plc for many years and over this time we have continued to grow in prominence.  To move forward we believe that it is now time to leverage the global power of The Sage Group and align ourselves fully with the brand.”

Softline was founded in 1988 by Ivan Epstein, Alan Osrin and soon after joined by Steven Cohen. The company was established in the formative years of the business software industry in South Africa, and soon became a leader in the provision of business software and services to SMEs.  The move to Sage will bring about name changes across all of the divisions including Sage VIP (formerly Softline VIP), Sage ERP Africa (formerly Softline ACCPAC), Sage Pastel (formerly Softline Pastel) and Sage Netcash (formerly Softline Netcash) as well as the newest edition to the stable, Sage Alchemex (formerly Alchemex).  “Our current and future customers will continue to enjoy the benefits of our locally and globally developed products that they have come to know and trust, whilst this alignment creates further opportunities to leverage global insights and collaboration.”

Epstein says that while the company’s branding will change, it is business as usual for Sage South Africa. “Our continued vision in South Africa, and globally, is to be recognised as the most valuable supporter of small and medium sized companies, by creating greater freedom for them to succeed,” says Epstein. “This vision supports the path of providing local expertise and leadership combined with global learnings and experience of Sage.”

Companies have until 15 January 2013 to compile and electronically submit their annual employment equity returns to the Department of Labour. The deadline for manual reports has already passed.

The easiest and most efficient way for companies to complete the forms is to visit the Department of Labour’s website (www.labour.gov.za) and make use of the Online Services to capture EE reports.

Philip Meyer, technology director at payroll and HR specialist Pastel Payroll, part of the Softline Group and Sage Group plc, says companies should be aware that once submitted, the forms may not be changed or amended in any way. “However guidance on how to correctly complete the forms is available from the Department of Labour’s website.”

Meyer adds that companies need to have a formal employment equity plan in place which provides the base for any EE report and consultation should take place with all relevant stakeholders before the forms are completed. The prescribed reporting forms are the EEA2 and the EEA4. Large employers are obliged to report every 12 months and small employers every second year. Chief executives are required to approve and authorise the EE reports before they are submitted.

“Companies should also note that the EEA2 and EEA4 forms must always be submitted together or the submission will be rejected and returned. Copies of these forms should be retained for the company records and to present to Department of Labour inspectors who may visit the company.”

The report also requires tables relating to numerical goals and targets, which essentially provide the workforce profile that the employer aims to achieve by the end of the next reporting period.

A new remuneration limit published in the Government Gazette after being approved by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan directs employers to adjust their UIF contribution calculations to comply with the new limit from 01 October 2012.

From now on employers must apply a new annual remuneration limit of R174 464 when calculating the 1% contribution deducted from employees and the 1% contributed by employers.

“As a result, employees earning R14 872 or more a month (R178 464 a year) will now contribute a maximum of R148.72 and their employers will contribute an equal amount,” says Philip Meyer, technology director of payroll and HR software specialist Pastel Payroll, part of the Softline Group and Sage Group plc.

“At the moment the earnings limit is set at R12 478 a month or R149 736 a year. The new limit means that employees whose earnings exceed the current limit will see a reduction in their net pay from October 2012 as their UIF contribution deduction will be slightly higher to accommodate the remuneration limit increase.

“Employers will see a similar effect as their portion of the UIF contribution increases to ultimately result in an increase in salary related expenses.”

Meyer adds that companies without payroll software solutions will have to manually change or update their payslip calculations to apply the new UIF limit before processing any salaries or wages for October.

“For our Pastel Partner Payroll software users a ‘frictionless’ update is being released to ensure users of the software can process their payrolls using the latest UIF remuneration limits, therefore no CD installations are required.”

The submission for manual tax returns has now passed. The deadlines for efiling submissions is the 23rd of November 2012 and in this post we’ll be exploring why it is sometimes necessary to seek out professional advice with your tax return.

There are many examples of incorrect tax returns which have ended in large sums of money being owed to the South African Revenue Service, and even court proceedings.  A recent article on the Moneyweb news website states that in one such case, the tax court in Pretoria had to consider an objection by a tax paying company against assessments issues by a SARS auditor. Of course, SARS had issued this assessment based on the tax return submitted by the company and their accompanying financial statements.

Despite many arguments from the company on if they were suitably qualified to be submitting tax returns on behalf of the business, and other issues, SARS won the case. The court ultimately found that the company had underpaid tax on several fronts and was now liable to pay the outstanding tax as well as the interest on the aforementioned amount.

This is just further proof as to why businesses, large and small, should seek the assistance of professional tax consultants when it comes to that time of the year. The help of a professional might cost far less that the penalties involved in an incorrect tax return.

SARS - SME companies should brace themselves for the interim PAYE reconciliation that is due from 01 September 2012 to 31 October 2012. Employers are required to fully reconcile and submit their employee tax certificates and EMP501 reconciliation for the period 01 March to 31 August 2012, by the end of October 2012.

Employers need to make use of the new SARS e@syFile software release, e@syFile V 6.1.0. to successfully submit their interim PAYE reconciliations. If they don’t, they will not be able to transfer their data electronically as the new software release will not recognise the old format.

“Companies have no choice,” says Philip Meyer, technology director of payroll and HR software developer Softline Pastel Payroll, part of the Softline Group and Sage Group plc.

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 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 with effect from 01 September 2012 companies will be penalised.

“New legislation that took effect in March this year means that medical aid contributions are no longer allowed as a tax deduction for employees under the age of 65. The medical aid capped amounts have also been replaced with Medical Aid tax credits. If companies did not make use of the medical aid tax credit method, their submission will be rejected and they will be required to manually recapture the details on e@syFile”, adds Meyer.

A new IT3(a) reason code for tax certificates has been introduced by SARS for non-deduction of PAYE  and must be applied on interim tax certificates. Code 08 will indicate a zero PAYE liability due to medical aid tax credits applied. There are also new source codes for fringe benefits and tax deductions that must be applied to interim tax certificates, replacing the consolidated values SARS required prior to the 2012 tax year. Most automated payroll software systems already cater for these codes.

Companies can receive step-by-step assistance from a SARS Contact Centre agent with Help-You-eFile. Help-You-eFile is a new service innovation from SARS which gives companies access to SARS Contact Centre agents online.

For a smooth interim PAYE reconciliation, opt for a reputable payroll software solution that can automate the reconciliation process for the company. Some automated payroll software providers require that users only load their employees’ information and payslips. Therefore no manual calculations are requires and companies can simply upload the file to e@syFile.

For further assistance with the interim PAYE reconciliation season, companies can attend the SARS interim submissions seminar, hosted by Softline Pastel Payroll.  Make contact on +27 11 304 4390 or go to seminars@pastel.co.za

The conventional channel structure is being revolutionised by technology in an ever-evolving environment that requires channel partners to adapt to ongoing change and add value in new ways.

Laurica Kok, general manager and channel manager at Softline Pastel Payroll, part of the Softline and Sage Group plc, says technology and payment plans are driving the restructuring of rebates and subscription pricing is rapidly becoming a reality for software vendors. Technology and the Internet are playing a big role, bringing in online products that are changing the playing field.

“Technology is enabling do-it-yourself as opposed to services, with the internet as the key element in changing the way that organisations conduct business. Pastel Payroll’s channel partners have been very active in terms of sales but technology is ringing in changes that are leading to the structuring of new incentives for channel parters.

“The adoption of what many consider to be commoditised uses for the internet is seen as a steady evolutionary process and the switch from legacy desktop applications to the cloud is proving to be a gradual adoption rather than a rush to jump on the bandwagon.”

Pastel Payroll has started introducing new functionality and is making use of frictionless updates that enable traditional desktop applications to seamlessly update over the internet with minimal intervention from the end-user of the software.

“Customers no longer need to visit a website to download and install updates manually and install CD versions, the software now does it all for them. The days of CD-based updates and disruptive installation and implementation cycles are over,” says Kok.

“Generally accepted standard online applications – those which many people are comfortable using on a daily basis such as internet banking and online flight reservations systems, news feeds and social media sites are all being complemented by steady streams of new online business applications and services. The younger generation has a strong affinity with online business and payroll solutions, eliminating the traditional support and assistance models. Pastel Payroll has to keep up with the times and offer customers a variety of software solutions.”

“The technology boom has driven structural changes to evolve with the new trends and we have seen major movement towards subscriptions, monthly payment options and the development of a pay-as-you-go environment as longer term budgeting is increasingly implemented. We have had open discussions with channel partners regarding this changing environment as it requires different incentive structures,” said Kok

Traditional channel programs used to involve an upfront payment and an annual licence fee structure.  However, increasing numbers of customers are feeling the economic pinch and looking for monthly payment options with budgeting becoming longer term. “Pay as you go is also becoming a popular option with customers,” concluded Kok.

Payroll and HR software specialist Softline Pastel Payroll has a Connected Services division that enables SME companies to extend their desktop payroll with an online solution that will ease the growing burden of HR managers and payroll administrators.

Connected services includes a web-based self-service tool that enables employees to manage and maintain their own information online and thereby carry some of the overall HR administration responsibility as they are able to make on-line applications for leave, loans, bursaries, travel claims, view their payslips and update personal information no matter where they are so long as they have an internet connection.

“The internet is here to stay and its capacity and connectivity have tangibly improved recently, providing an increasingly compelling service at progressively competitive prices although South Africa still has some way to go in terms of truly competitive pricing,” says Philip Meyer, technology director at payroll and HR software specialist Pastel Payroll, part of the Softline and Sage Group plc.

“Generally accepted standard online applications – those which many people are comfortable using on a daily basis such as internet banking and online flight reservations systems, news feeds and social media sites are all being complemented by steady streams of new online business applications and services.”

Meyer says the adoption rate of online business software for new entrants into the market is increasing, posing the question of how to bridge the gap between the growing trend towards online software adoption and the traditional desktop application users in the same market segments.

“The adoption of what many consider to be commoditised uses for the internet is seen as a steady evolutionary process and the switch from legacy desktop applications to the cloud is proving to be a gradual adoption rather than a rush to jump on the bandwagon.”

The advantages and conveniences of connected services can aid and expedite the many benefits of dual-deployment business software models such as client-side hosted applications with significant connected services capabilities and functionality together with a seamless upgrade path to ultimately complete cloud-based models facilitated by vendors.

Connected Services has workflow capabilities based on the organisation chart or a specific workflow order per online form. Once an employee applies for leave online and the manager approves it, the payroll system is automatically updated. The software also provides for leave scheduling, which is particularly practical over traditional December holidays when “skeleton staff” are required. The program helps to manage minimum staff levels by providing system warnings.

Meyer reckons frictionless updates are another example of connected services that enable traditional desktop applications to seamlessly update over the internet with minimal intervention from the end-user of the software. “Customers no longer need to visit a website to download and install updates manually and install CD versions, the software now does it all for them. The days of CD-based updates and disruptive installation and implementation cycles are over.”

Another component of Connected Services allows HR managers and payroll administrators to receive RSS feeds to their desktops notifying them of legislative and tax changes and new system software releases so that the company is always on track and up to date.

“The internet and, more specifically, cloud-based and online business applications constitute some of the most compelling opportunities for streamlining the way business is conducted in the 21st century. It is reassuring that the optimisation of internet capabilities will almost certainly not amount to a one-size fits all models.

“It is rather the incremental evolution of traditional desktop software, leveraging the internet where it is appropriate and business enhancing, that will play an important role in the evolutionary shift to complete cloud-based business software provisioning, billing and deployment. This will provide a flexible and extensible migration path to the cloud taking into account preferences of individual business requirements, as will pure cloud-only offerings,” concludes Meyer

The Tax Season commenced on 01 July 2012. Taxpayers can now submit their IT12 Returns for 2012. To avoid fines or penalties, individuals need to file their tax returns within the SARS deadlines, for the period 01 March 2011 to 29 February 2012.

Submission Deadlines

Please take note of the submission deadlines below:

•Manual returns have to be posted or delivered to local SARS branches by 28 September 2012.

•Non-provisional taxpayers may use SARS eFiling until 23 November 2012.

•Provisional taxpayers have more time and may submit electronic returns via eFiling until 31 January next year.

 

Tax Return Guide 

Visit www.sars.gov.za  to obtain the 2012 Tax Season electronic guide to help with submitting your IT12 Returns.

Help-You-eFile

A Help-You-eFile service will also soon be launched by SARS. The Help-You-eFile service is an innovation that will provide taxpayers with access to contact centre agents while the taxpayer is online. SARS Agents are able to see what taxpayers are doing and assist with the completion of the tax return. SARS has also embraced mobile technology and this year individuals with mobile devices will also be able to file their returns through the new SARS eFiling mobisite (sarsefiling.mobi) or a soon-to-be-launched eFiling application for people on the move using smartphones or tablets.

SARS is also enabling taxpayers to view eFiling videos on YouTube demonstrating how to register for eFiling, complete and submit the IRT12 tax form, accompanied by supporting documents if these are required. SARS has said that eFilers will receive their ITA34 assessment and statement of account within a few minutes of submitting the return.

 

eFiling

e@syFile™ Employer version 6.0.4 is available to download from www.sars.gov.za. An updated security certificate is included in this release to ensure successful installation. There are no additional changes in functionality.

Taxpayers who may have forgotten their eFiling login or password will be able to request their login name and reset their password from the login page

 

Find out more from www.pastelpayroll.co.za

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan delivered a safe, no real surprises budget [yesterday] ([Wednesday] 22 February) with R9.5-billion personal tax relief achieved by increasing the personal tax brackets. This brings the primary annual tax rebate for individuals under the age of 65 to R11 440, for individuals aged between 65 and 75 to R6 390 and those aged 75 and older to R2 130.

A key feature of the budget is that tax revenue stabilised at about 25% of South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP). Overall revenue was slightly lower than the estimate in February last year and the revised estimate for 2012/13 is R739-billion, which is R10-billion higher than projected last year. Also pleasing was reductions in the rates of tax on small businesses and in the compliance burden on micro businesses.

It is proposed that from March 2014 an employer’s retirement fund contributions on behalf of an employee will be regarded as a taxable fringe benefit in the hands of the employee. Individuals will be allowed to deduct up to 22.5% of the higher taxable income or employment income for contributions to pension, provident and retirement annuity funds to a maximum of R20 000 and an annual maximum of R250 000. For individuals of 45 and over the deductible amount is up to 27.5% with a minimum annual deduction of R20 000 and annual maximum of R300 000.

There is a major change relating to medical aid where from 1 March 2012 the capping system will be replaced with a medical aid tax credit, bringing in equality for all taxpayers under the age of 65 and improved benefits for lower earners, a move in line with international best practice. The medical aid tax credit is R230 a month for the first two beneficiaries (including the principal member) and R154 for each additional dependent thereafter. Taxpayers over the age of 65 will receive their full medical aid contribution as a tax deduction in 2014.

Comments Grant Lloyd, managing director of payroll and HR software specialist Softline Pastel Payroll, part of the Softline and Sage Group plc: “The medical aid tax credit system will likely result in lower earners receiving greater benefits, which is a good thing.”

He adds that the Site tax portion of PAYE will fall away, making payroll administration easier.

“Secondary Tax on Companies (STC) will be terminated on March 31 this year and a withholding tax of 15% on dividends is to be introduced on April 1. The tax will be withheld on payment, not on declaration. South African branches of foreign resident companies are exempt from STC.”

Capital gains tax rates have effectively been increased to 13.3% for individuals, 18.6% for companies and 26.7% for Trusts, effective March 1.

Most individual taxpayers will be affected by the introduction of a 20-cent levy on fuel and an 8-cent levy for the Road Accident Fund.

To assist SME businesses with the changes outlined in the new Budget, Softline Pastel Payroll is incorporating all of the Budget changes to tax bracket values, medical aid benefits, and tax relief rebates.

“Automated Payroll and HR software ensures that payrolls are accurate and legally compliant the moment the new Budget stipulations take effect in the new tax year,” says Lloyd.

To find out how the Budget Speech affects your pocket, visit www.pastelpayroll.co.za and enter your current monthly salary and allowances in the online Pastel Salary Tax Calculator.

ISSUED BY: COPYWISE

ON BEHALF OF: SOFTLINE PASTEL PAYROLL