The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has successfully processed the first set of fully electronic directives. Dimension Data Interactive-Commerce on behalf of Employers and of Pension / Provident / Retirement Annuity Funds is the first external directive agent that has successfully completed the test cycle with SARS. On 30 March 2000, Dimension Data submitted 228 applications for directives electronically. These were successfully processed by SARS New Income Tax System (NITS) without any human intervention.
SARS and Dimension Data have since continued to exchange electronic files and issue directives on a daily basis. This electronic method of exchanging applications for directives and the actual electronic issuing of directives by SARS forms part of the new system introduced on 17 December last year. The system has been designed to automate and expedite most manual processes in order to allow for the SARS to deliver a more efficient and effective service to taxpayers.
The introduction of the electronic interface for directives forms part of various electronic interfaces offered by NITS, and has made a significant improvement in the turn-around time for issuing directives. Directives issued via the electronic interface can now be processed within hours instead of up to twenty days, which was the case in the old Income Tax system.
A number of other agents are in an advanced stage of testing and will soon go live joining Dimension Data Interactive-Commerce. In order to allow for any agent to be party to this electronic interface, the Interface Specification for Requesting of tax directives (IBIR-006) is available on the SARS Website for downloading. A registration form for interface user is available both on the Website and at Receivers Offices.
To ensure that accuracy and efficiency is not lost it is however imperative for each interface agent to submit test files before live data can be accepted on the Production Database. This is done to ensure that the files of the external agent comply with the requirements as stipulated in the said Specification. Once that test files comply with the requirements, the organisation is placed into a Live status on the Production Database.
ISSUED BY THE COMMISSIONER FOR THE SOUTH AFRICAN REVENUE SERVICE