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COVID-19 SAIPA Updates

COVID-19 impact: Question & Answers (Q&A)

25 March 2020

COVID-19 impact: Question & Answers (Q&A)

South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA) has been received several questions from members based on President Ramaphosa’s statement made ON the evening of 23 March 2020

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Q: Are accountants considered essential services and should they remain operational during the 21-day lockdown period?

A: In terms of the president’s statement “Individuals will not be allowed to leave their homes except under strictly controlled circumstances, such as to seek medical care, buy food, medicine and other supplies or collect a social grant. Firms that are able to continue their operations remotely should do so.” Based on this, employees of an Accounting practice may not go to work during the lockdown period. Whilst Accountancy services are critical to the country in collecting the revenue in Taxes, it has not been included in the essential businesses that are exempted from lockdown.

Q: How does an organisation access the following business rescue initiative undertaken by the President, to assist businesses that may be in distress?

A: A tax subsidy 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.

  • The payment of employment tax incentive reimbursements from twice a year to monthly to get cash into the hands of compliant employers as soon as possible.
  • A delay 20% of pay-as-you-earn liabilities over the next four months and a portion of their provisional corporate income tax payments without penalties or interest over the next six months, for tax compliant businesses with a turnover of less than R50 million. This intervention is expected to assist over 75 000 small and medium-term enterprises.
  • The possible reduction of employer and employee contributions to the Unemployment Insurance Fund and employer contributions to the Skill Development Fund.

PLEASE TAKE NOTE

As at today – 25 March at 12:00, SAIPA has not received any gazetted regulations or notices that explains the implementation of the above. We therefore do not currently have answers on how members can access the above relief measures. Members will be alerted as soon as any updates become available in this regard.

Q: With the lockdown, how are we expected to attend to the VAT and Tax computations and payments? Are we not going to incur interest and penalties?

A: Most VAT and Income tax filing can be done on e-filing which can be accessed remotely, and members should still be able to meet their statutory requirements.

Q: My clients need to come to my practice and bring their paperwork for filing purposes. I cannot do anything before I get these.

A: We all just need to be creative and find means that are compliant, especially during this time, as the lockdown becomes effective from midnight 26 March.