SARS Tax Measures in respect of COVID-19 pandemic

Mar 30, 2020 | Taxation Blog

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The Minister of Finance has announced the following exceptional tax measures as part of the fiscal package outlined by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 23 March 2020 in his speech on the Escalation of Measures to Combat COVID-19.

These measures are over and above the tax proposals made in the 2020 Budget on 26 February 2020. The tax adjustments are made in light of the National State of Disaster and due to the significant and potentially lasting negative impacts on the economy from the spreading of the COVID-19 virus.

There is a critical need for government interventions to assist with job retention and assist businesses that may be experiencing significant distress. These measures include:

  1. The introduction of a tax subsidy to employers of up to R500 per month for the next four months for those private sector employees earning below R6,500 under the Employment Tax Incentive: 
  • Increasing the maximum amount of ETI claimable during this four month period for employees eligible under the current ETI Act from R1 000 to R1 500 in the first qualifying twelve months and from R500 to R1 000 in the second twelve qualifying months.
  • Allowing a monthly ETI claim in the amount of R500 during this four month period for employees from the ages of:
  • 18 to 29 who are no longer eligible for the ETI as the employer has claimed ETI in respect of those employees for 24 months; and
  • 30 to 65 who are not eligible for the ETI due to their age.
  • Accelerating the payment of employment tax incentive reimbursements from twice a year to monthly as a means of getting cash into the hands of tax compliant employers as soon as possible.
  • This will only apply to employers that were registered with SARS as at 1 March 2020.
  • Further to the above, the current compliance requirements for employers under sections 8 and 10(4) of the ETI Act will continue to apply.
  • The proposed amendments will apply for a period of four months and are deemed to have come into operation on 1 April 2020 and end on 31 July 2020.

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