Pirates in the sea of SARS

Members of the public are randomly emailed with false “spoof” emails made to look as if they were sent from SARS, but are in fact fraudulent emails aimed at enticing unsuspecting taxpayers to part with personal information such as bank account details. Examples include emails that appear to be from returns@sars.co.za or refunds@sars.co.za indicating that tax payers are eligible to receive tax refunds.

Members of the public are randomly emailed with false “spoof” emails made to look as if they were sent from SARS, but are in fact fraudulent emails aimed at enticing unsuspecting taxpayers to part with personal information such as bank account details.

Examples include emails that appear to be from returns@sars.co.za or refunds@sars.co.za indicating that tax payers are eligible to receive tax refunds.

These emails contain links to false forms and false websites made to look like the “real thing”, but with the aim of fooling people into entering personal information such as bank account details which criminals then extract and use fraudulently.

Please note these are scams and SARS taxpayers should take note of the following:

  • Do not open or respond to emails from unknown sources.
  • Beware of emails that ask for personal, tax, banking and eFiling details (login credentials, passwords, pins, credit / debit card information, etc.) as SARS will never ask taxpayers for such information in an email.
  • SARS will not request your banking details through the phone, email or websites.
  • Beware of false sms’s.
  • Beware of “spoof” emails or notifications from your bank.

See an example here.

To report or to get more information on phishing, please send an email to phishing@sars.gov.za or call the Fraud and Anti-Corruption Hotline on 0800 00 2870.

A regulatory checklist for SMEs

If you’re running a small business, you might feel overwhelmed by the many regulatory bodies and requirements in South Africa. From labour laws and tax regulations to municipal bylaws, health and safety regulations and consumer protection laws, you’ll be spending a great deal of your time simply trying to comply with a range of legislative and regulatory demands.

If you’re running a small business, you might feel overwhelmed by the many regulatory bodies and requirements in South Africa. From labour laws and tax regulations to municipal bylaws, health and safety regulations and consumer protection laws, you’ll be spending a great deal of your time simply trying to comply with a range of legislative and regulatory demands.

But rather than seeing legal and regulatory compliance as a burden, you’d be wise to embrace it as an opportunity to run more efficiently says Ivan Epstein, co-founder of Softline and CEO of Sage AAMEA (Australia, Asia, Middle East and Africa). “Compliance is hard work, but it will keep you out of trouble with authorities such as the taxman and the Department of Labour,” he says. “Plus, putting the processes and systems in place you need to satisfy various laws and regulations will give you visibility into, and control over, your business. What’s more, it’s also good for your relationship with customers and your reputation in the market.”

The demands you face will vary according to the size and the structure of your business. But here are a few points to keep in mind as the owner of a small business.

1. The taxman’s due

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) is one of the country’s most tenacious and professional government departments, so it’s wise to maintain a professional and transparent relationship. If you’re a sole proprietor or in a partnership, register with SARS as a provisional taxpayer.

If you have registered a company, be sure to register it with SARS, in addition to registering yourself as a taxpayer. If you have employees, you must remember to deduct tax from them and pay it to SARS each month. Also, you must collect and pay VAT if your business has an annual turnover in excess of R1 million.

2. Labour law

As an employer, familiarise yourself with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. This law governs relationships between companies and employees, setting out rules around working hours, overtime, leave, and the processes that need to be followed should you need to dismiss an employee. You’ll also need to register with the Department of Labour and contribute to the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).

3. Health and safety regulations

The Occupational Health and Safety Act give workers a range of rights in terms of health and safety in the workplace. Regulations in the Act provide guidelines around aspects of workplace safety such as first aid, protective clothing, machinery, ladders, firefighting equipment, ventilation, lighting, temperature, noise and asbestos.

4. Municipal bylaws

Municipal bylaws, governing zoning, noise levels, hygiene, and so forth will also have impact on your business. For example, you will probably need permissions to run a noisy manufacturing operation or a night club in a quiet suburban street, and should you wish to renovate your office building you may also need permission for that

5. Consumer protection

With laws such as the Consumer Protection Act, government and regulators are becoming more stringent about consumer rights in South Africa. You should investigate what these laws have to say about how you should advertise your goods, structure your contracts with consumers, handle customer data, deal with merchandise returns under warranty, and so on.

Epstein says that many of these laws and regulations can seem intimidating to an entrepreneur just striking out on his or her own. “It’s not a bad idea to consult an expert for help when you’re not sure about how the law might affect your business,” says Epstein. “Rather seek professional tax, accounting or legal help than risking non-compliance—it will be well worth the investment.

Common payroll problems and solutions I Online support

There’s more to running an efficient modern payroll and HR environment than paying your employees on time and printing payslips. An automated payroll solution can help you to save time and money by reducing the paperwork associated with your weekly wage and monthly salary runs. Here are five ways to use your payroll software to run a more productive and efficient business.

There’s more to running an efficient modern payroll and HR environment than paying your employees on time and printing payslips.

An automated payroll solution can help you to save time and money by reducing the paperwork associated with your weekly wage and monthly salary runs. Here are five ways to use your payroll software to run a more productive and efficient business.

1. No-sweat tax submissions

South African tax regulations and labour laws are complex, and getting more so all the time. In addition to PAYE, you also need to account for UIF, the skills development levy and the employment tax incentive. And the environment changes every tax year.

Make sure you choose a package tailored for the local tax and regulatory environment-it should take care of all the complex calculations you need to do so that you can file submissions to SARS on time. It should also feature automated updates to ensure you always process on the latest software and legislative version. This will ensure that you avoid censure or fines by SARS as a result of filing tax returns late or getting the sums wrong.

2. Close gaps for fraud and errors

Payroll is one of the biggest expenses for any business. That means that payroll fraud or errors can cost you dearly. Use the information from your payroll system to keep tabs on payroll transactions and impose checks and balances on the payroll environment.

A good solution will also feature options such as bank account and ID number verification from within the system so that you can reduce the opportunities for fraud as well as the possibility of paying money into the wrong bank account by mistake.

3. Better planning

A payroll system isn’t just about automating a business process – it is also a management information system. You can use the data from this system to understand employee performance, see how your human resources are contributing towards profitability, and plan for your anticipated future workforce needs and costs.

4. Empower employees

Modern payroll solutions usually offer optional employee self-service modules. This can be a boon for a busy small business owner or manager because it takes care of a lot of the distracting and irritating day to day admin.

Employee self-service lets employees apply for leave, submit travel claims, download old and current payslips, and update their personal details online or via their smartphones. The payroll software is updated automatically so that you don’t need to manually recapture leave or travel claim forms.

5. Streamline HR management

Once you implement a payroll solution, you should also consider adding HR functionality. An HR module for your payroll package should help you to manage processes such as performance reviews and disciplinary procedures correctly and accurately. This will help you avoid costly CCMA cases or having to pay compensation for wrongful dismissal.

Check out Sage One Payroll

Five reasons why you and your employees will love Sage One Payroll

When it comes to finding ways to run your small business effectively and more smoothly, business owners are the first to admit that this is something close to the top of their list of priorities. Sage One is committed to helping you grow your business and providing you with the tools you need to manage

When it comes to finding ways to run your small business effectively and more smoothly, business owners are the first to admit that this is something close to the top of their list of priorities. Sage One is committed to helping you grow your business and providing you with the tools you need to manage it as efficiently as possible. One such tool is Online Payroll, software that is guaranteed to make your life a whole lot easier when it comes to anything related to employee remuneration. There are so many reasons for you and your employees to love Sage One Payroll, but here are just a few.

Accurate

Sage One Payroll helps to minimise the occurrence of human error, something that very often accompanies manual calculations. When looking at your online payslips, you can be sure that you are always looking at the “final”, real-time value, allowing you to stay up-to-date and accurate when it comes to payroll. The software also updates automatically, saving you the hassle of having to install the latest versions.

Saves time and money

Because the software does all the heavy lifting and calculations for you, you can save a huge amount of time that you will then be able to put into something else in the business. Sage One Payroll is also an affordable option that will save you money through reducing your labour costs as well as offering you a system that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to run (you only pay for the number of employees you process). Time and money are two vital ingredients when it comes to business success and the more you have of both, the more likely your business is to flourish and expand.

Convenient and easy to use

Because Sage One Payroll is software that operates within the Cloud, it means that you’re able to login anytime, anywhere, provided you have an internet connection. Because you’re able to work on the go, you’re no longer bound to the office. Your employees will be paid timely, every time, thanks to Sage One Payroll. You’re also able to sign up, add your employees and start processing within five minutes – what could be easier? There’s no difficult jargon to work through and the simple-to-use templates will change your approach to payroll forever. The standard reports generated give you instant access to your payroll information in a format that suits your needs (PDF, Excel, Word etc). Sage One Payroll will even manage your employees’ leave for you – so many solutions offered with a single system.

Safe and secure

With all your information being stored in the Cloud, you have peace of mind that it’s all kept safe and secure, year after year. All your data is also backed up daily which means that whoever has access to the information, will always be working off of the latest version. Security is important to you, so it’s important to us too, so we use the latest in online security technology to ensure that your sensitive information is protected 24/7.

SARS compliant

Sage One Payroll is fully compliant with SARS requirements and you’re able to create tax certificates in one simple step. It also helps to make SARS submissions an absolute breeze, once again saving you time and unnecessary stress.

Sage One Payroll is your answer to a secure and affordable online payroll solution for your small, growing business. It will completely change the way you think about payroll and with your employees receiving just as many benefits from it as you do, there’ll be satisfaction all round.

 

 Featured image: http://bebusinessed.com