The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has requested the four major commercial banks in the country to introduce a payment validation system on each of their electronic banking applications to prevent incorrect on-line tax payments.
SARS has reached an agreement with the First National Bank, ABSA, Standard Bank and Nedbank to introduce the new measures in a phased approach with the First National Bank beginning in this month.
This new validation system will ensure that all taxpayers submitting payments via electronic banking are prompted to enter the correct payment information regarding their identity (taxpayer reference number), the tax product being paid, and the period or return to which such payment should be allocated. This information is contained in a unique 19 digit reference number.
Although the taxpayer's identity and the tax type remain unchanged for a specific tax, the period to which the payment should be allocated changes constantly. This variable is the primary cause of most payment reconciliation difficulties which frequently lead to aggravation for taxpayers and frustration for SARS officials.
Unlike eFiling, not all electronic payments to SARS are validated prior to payment with the result that taxpayer payment details are not always submitted correctly. The validation system will prevent incorrectly referenced payments by rejecting those that do not conform to the correct guidelines, bringing internet and other electronic banking channels in line with over-the-counter payments and payments via eFiling.
This validation initiative forms part of an extensive on-going exercise to improve and streamline SARS service to ensure it is:
SARS has, over time, developed a number of channels to facilitate the payment of tax and to make things easier and safer. These collection channels include:
eFiling remains SARS' preferred payment channel. This payment mechanism provides many advantages to taxpayers and prevents incorrect payment referencing. Although this facility is limited to only certain financial institutions it is our intention to expand this solution to all financial institutions with the assistance of the four major commercial banks. The eFiling solution is also presently being extended to cater for ad hoc transactions on any tax type. For more information on eFiling please go to www.sarsefiling.co.za
For more information on the composition of the unique 19-digit reference number necessary for accurate payments and the associated payment rules please go to www.sars.gov.za, section 'Brochures and Guides'.
ISSUED BY THE COMMISSIONER FOR THE SOUTH AFRICAN REVENUE SERVICE