How to get started processing payroll in South Africa How to get started processing payroll in South Africa

How to get started processing payroll in South Africa
31 Jul 2015

You’ve started up a new business and hired your first employees, or your one-person band has grown to a stage where you need some extra hands to help you. Suddenly, you’ve got a lot more admin to do if you’re to remain compliant with various tax and labour laws and regulations.

Getting it wrong - failing to register with all the authorities or missing their return deadlines for submissions - can cost your business a fortune in penalties, fines and interest payments.

Meeting these requirements may look daunting if you have never run a payroll before. However, the process can be quite straightforward, provided you’re well-informed about how it works and have the right tools in place to streamline the paperwork. Let’s look at the requirements in more detail.

Register for PAYE

As soon as you bring employees on board, you must register yourself as an employer with the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and deduct taxes from employees every month. You must register with SARS by completing the EMP101 form within 14 days of becoming an employer.

You must deduct tax from employees’ wages or salaries as well as their bonuses, commissions, additional earnings and benefits according to the annual SARS tax tables. You must pay over the PAYE deducted to SARS by the seventh of each month accompanied by a completed EMP201 return.

SDL

The Skills Development Levy is a one per cent levy that government imposes on the total company payroll to encourage learning and development in South Africa. You must register for SDL with SARS by completing the EMP101 form within 14 days after becoming an employer.

If the estimated total remuneration subject to SDL (levy-able amount) that you pay to all employees over the next 12 month period won’t exceed R500, 000, you will be exempt from SDL and won’t need to register. The levy payment is due every month by the seventh as part of your EMP201 payment to SARS.

Unemployment Insurance Fund

The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) provides short-term payments to cover workers who are temporarily unemployed, or cannot work because they are on maternity leave, are ill and so on. You must register for UIF with the Department of Labour by completing the UI-8 form.

The UIF will provide you with a registration number. You must also register with SARS by completing the EMP101 form within 14 days after becoming an employer. The employee and the company each contribute an amount equal to one per cent of the employee’s monthly remuneration.

You must pay the contributions by the seventh of each month. You must pay the UIF as part of your monthly EMP201 payment to SARS if you’re registered as an employer with them, otherwise pay UIF directly.

In addition to the monthly UIF payments, you need to declare your contributions to the UIF. On a good, fully localised payroll solution, you can submit this declaration electronically rather than completing the UI-19 paper form. This declaration gives the UIF all the information it needs about new and existing employees as well as employees leaving your employment.

Issue tax certificates at the end of each tax year

Tax certificates (IT3a/IRP5) must be issued to employees at the end of February each year, or when they leave your employment during the tax year, which runs from March to February each year. You must also complete an EMP501 reconciliation, which reconciles your monthly PAYE, SDL and UIF payments, EMP201 declarations and tax certificate information and submit it with the tax certificate information to SARS at the end of each tax year.

An automated payroll solution like Sage One Payroll will allow you to print an IRP5 at a push of a button and also generate a file to import into the SARS e@ syFile system so that you don’t have to manually capture tax certificates.

A mid-year EMP501 reconciliation must also be submitted to SARS, reconciling the first six months of the tax year (March to August). No tax certificates are handed to employees as part of this submission. To avoid penalties, you must meet the submission deadlines, which are usually end of May and end of October.

efiling

SARS eFiling is free online software used for the submission of tax returns. It allows individual taxpayers, tax practitioners and businesses to register and submit tax returns, make payments and perform other interactions with SARS in a secure online environment. Once registered on the system, you can submit returns, view your tax status and make payments to SARS electronically 24 hours a day.

If you’re on efiling, you are also given more time to make your submissions and payments. And if you’re a business paying VAT, you get until the last working day of the month to pay it rather than needing to pay by the 25th of each month as businesses that file manually must.

You also have a full history of all submissions, payments and electronic correspondence available to you at the click of a button through a reporting tool. What’s more, you can receive SMS and email notifications to remind you when submissions are due.

Employer is a software package designed by SARS to help employers manage their engagements with SARS quickly. It can be downloaded onto your desktop and all work can be done offline and you only go online when you are ready to submit returns or reconciliations (EMP501) and tax certificates (IT3a/IRP5) to SARS or manage agent appointments (ITA88) via efiling.

Streamlining it all with a payroll

Remember that SARS will no longer accept manual submissions if you have more than five IRP5/IT3(a) tax certificates to submit, so be sure that you’re efiling.

To download the latest versions of the SARS software, visit sarsefiling.co.za. If you use an automated payroll solution that does the PAYE, UIF and SDL calculations on your behalf, the reconciliation process will be much simpler for you.

Some systems offer a full set of reconciliation reports, making the interim reconciliation easy and time efficient. For example, they can generate a tax certificate export file that employers can submit through e@syFile. A good payroll solution will also indicate if your returns are missing any demographic data, which could save you from having submissions rejected by SARS and possible administrative penalties.

Karen Schmikl, Sage One Payroll’s Product Manager, is responsible for designing the software and is involved in marketing, sales and support. Schmikl has been part of the Sage HR & Payroll team for some 14 years, having joined Sage VIP in 2001.



You’ve started up a new business and hired your first employees, or your one-person band has grown to a stage where you need some extra hands to help you. Suddenly, you’ve got a lot more admin to do if you’re to remain compliant with various tax and labour laws and regulations.

Getting it wrong - failing to register with all the authorities or missing their return deadlines for submissions - can cost your business a fortune in penalties, fines and interest payments.

Meeting these requirements may look daunting if you have never run a payroll before. However, the process can be quite straightforward, provided you’re well-informed about how it works and have the right tools in place to streamline the paperwork. Let’s look at the requirements in more detail.

Register for PAYE

As soon as you bring employees on board, you must register yourself as an employer with the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and deduct taxes from employees every month. You must register with SARS by completing the EMP101 form within 14 days of becoming an employer.

You must deduct tax from employees’ wages or salaries as well as their bonuses, commissions, additional earnings and benefits according to the annual SARS tax tables. You must pay over the PAYE deducted to SARS by the seventh of each month accompanied by a completed EMP201 return.

SDL

The Skills Development Levy is a one per cent levy that government imposes on the total company payroll to encourage learning and development in South Africa. You must register for SDL with SARS by completing the EMP101 form within 14 days after becoming an employer.

If the estimated total remuneration subject to SDL (levy-able amount) that you pay to all employees over the next 12 month period won’t exceed R500, 000, you will be exempt from SDL and won’t need to register. The levy payment is due every month by the seventh as part of your EMP201 payment to SARS.

Unemployment Insurance Fund

The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) provides short-term payments to cover workers who are temporarily unemployed, or cannot work because they are on maternity leave, are ill and so on. You must register for UIF with the Department of Labour by completing the UI-8 form.

The UIF will provide you with a registration number. You must also register with SARS by completing the EMP101 form within 14 days after becoming an employer. The employee and the company each contribute an amount equal to one per cent of the employee’s monthly remuneration.

You must pay the contributions by the seventh of each month. You must pay the UIF as part of your monthly EMP201 payment to SARS if you’re registered as an employer with them, otherwise pay UIF directly.

In addition to the monthly UIF payments, you need to declare your contributions to the UIF. On a good, fully localised payroll solution, you can submit this declaration electronically rather than completing the UI-19 paper form. This declaration gives the UIF all the information it needs about new and existing employees as well as employees leaving your employment.

Issue tax certificates at the end of each tax year

Tax certificates (IT3a/IRP5) must be issued to employees at the end of February each year, or when they leave your employment during the tax year, which runs from March to February each year. You must also complete an EMP501 reconciliation, which reconciles your monthly PAYE, SDL and UIF payments, EMP201 declarations and tax certificate information and submit it with the tax certificate information to SARS at the end of each tax year.

An automated payroll solution like Sage One Payroll will allow you to print an IRP5 at a push of a button and also generate a file to import into the SARS e@ syFile system so that you don’t have to manually capture tax certificates.

A mid-year EMP501 reconciliation must also be submitted to SARS, reconciling the first six months of the tax year (March to August). No tax certificates are handed to employees as part of this submission. To avoid penalties, you must meet the submission deadlines, which are usually end of May and end of October.

efiling

SARS eFiling is free online software used for the submission of tax returns. It allows individual taxpayers, tax practitioners and businesses to register and submit tax returns, make payments and perform other interactions with SARS in a secure online environment. Once registered on the system, you can submit returns, view your tax status and make payments to SARS electronically 24 hours a day.

If you’re on efiling, you are also given more time to make your submissions and payments. And if you’re a business paying VAT, you get until the last working day of the month to pay it rather than needing to pay by the 25th of each month as businesses that file manually must.

You also have a full history of all submissions, payments and electronic correspondence available to you at the click of a button through a reporting tool. What’s more, you can receive SMS and email notifications to remind you when submissions are due.

Employer is a software package designed by SARS to help employers manage their engagements with SARS quickly. It can be downloaded onto your desktop and all work can be done offline and you only go online when you are ready to submit returns or reconciliations (EMP501) and tax certificates (IT3a/IRP5) to SARS or manage agent appointments (ITA88) via efiling.

Streamlining it all with a payroll

Remember that SARS will no longer accept manual submissions if you have more than five IRP5/IT3(a) tax certificates to submit, so be sure that you’re efiling.

To download the latest versions of the SARS software, visit sarsefiling.co.za. If you use an automated payroll solution that does the PAYE, UIF and SDL calculations on your behalf, the reconciliation process will be much simpler for you.

Some systems offer a full set of reconciliation reports, making the interim reconciliation easy and time efficient. For example, they can generate a tax certificate export file that employers can submit through e@syFile. A good payroll solution will also indicate if your returns are missing any demographic data, which could save you from having submissions rejected by SARS and possible administrative penalties.

Karen Schmikl, Sage One Payroll’s Product Manager, is responsible for designing the software and is involved in marketing, sales and support. Schmikl has been part of the Sage HR & Payroll team for some 14 years, having joined Sage VIP in 2001.



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