SME companies should brace themselves for the Interim PAYE Reconciliation that is due from 01 September 2011 to 31 October 2011. Employers are required to fully reconcile and submit their employee tax certificates and EMP501 Reconciliation for the period 01 March to 31 August 2011, by the end of October 2011.

Employers need to make use of the new SARS e@syFile software release, e@syFile V5.0, to successfully do their Interim PAYE Reconciliations. If they don’t, they will not be able to submit their data electronically as the new software release will not recognise the old format.

“Companies have no choice,” says Grant Lloyd, MD of payroll and HR software developer Softline Pastel Payroll, part of the Softline Group and Sage Group plc. “The import file layout has been changed so the bottom line is that companies have to use the new V5.0 software.”

Companies that are using software or automated payroll solutions need to amend their export file formats to meet the requirements of e@syFile V5.0 and the tax certificate format has also been changed by SARS. “While these are minor changes, they are very important,” says Lloyd.

The major change in e@syFile V5.0 revolves around new features for the registration of employees and their tax numbers. Legislation now dictates that each and every employee in a company will be registered on the SARS database with their own tax number. Previously only employees earning more than R60 000 a year were required to be registered.

Lloyd says an important aspect of e@syFile V5.0 is that it offers employers some options for the registration of employees.

The first option is “bulk registration”, known as Bulk ITREG, of employee tax certificates with automatic registration of those employees who do not have income tax numbers. It will be performed automatically twice a year during the annual and interim PAYE reconciliation periods. SARS will notify employers of these registrations via e@syFile while the newly registered employees will receive a notification from SARS informing them that they are registered.

“Bundled registration or Bundled ITREG is the second option SARS offers employers. The company can use this feature in e@syFile at any time of the year to register multiple employees and obtain tax numbers,” says Lloyd.

He adds that this option allows employers to keep up to date during the year by registering new employees as they come onto the payroll and this is likely to result in a smoother, quicker final submission and reconciliation because registrations have been regularly done, alleviating the need for a large single transfer of all data, as is the case with Bulk ITREG.

Some automated payroll software solutions cater for this feature using an ITREGFILE exported from the payroll software to register multiple employees at any time. Again, SARS will allocate the registered tax numbers to each employee and send this data back to the employer.

SARS can also send employers an export file which they can import directly into their payroll software, thereby avoiding tedious manual capturing of data.

ITREG and Bundled ITREG requests are limited to a maximum of 1 000 employees a month. In registrations where more than 1 000 employees are to be registered, requests to register the excess will have to be made the following month.