SARS addresses Adobe termination

Pretoria, Monday 18 January 2021 – The South African Revenue Service (SARS) wishes to apologise unreservedly to all taxpayers for the disruption in services brought about by the termination of support of the Adobe Flash platform on 12 January 2021.

SARS duly took note of Adobes notice to discontinue support for some of its products beyond December 2020. With this in mind, SARS already migrated the vast majority of its most critical forms to alternative platforms, most notably HTML5. For the reasons set out below, SARS had, until now, focused on the major tax types with the highest volumes. These are largely completed and operationally stable. While noting the discontinuation of Adobe support, we erred in our interpretation that the functionality would continue beyond the support date.  This error has created frustration to many taxpayers to whom we owe an apology. 

The events leading to the unfortunate disruption and the remedial actions that have been taken as well as those that are underway are detailed below.

SARS had planned the migration of all forms as a priority. However, as part of its mandate SARS administers many taxes and compliance mechanisms, which spawn many submission requirements and interactions that necessitate the capturing and submitting of data through many different forms.

In addition to the high number of forms that are required to be migrated from Adobe Flash to the chosen HTML5 platform, the migration itself is very complex and requires the development, testing and deployment of new forms. These contain many data fields, which are underpinned by thousands of technical, administrative and complex business rules to ensure the integrity of data, efficient processing and accurate assessment results. It is due to this complexity and the need to deliver properly tested and working forms that SARS prioritized the major tax types with the highest volumes with the rest planned for 2021.

In light of these ongoing challenges, SARS will implement the following remedial actions to assist taxpayers still experiencing issues:

  1. SARS has set up an eBooking system, which is accessible immediately, through our website on in order to assist taxpayers facing challenges on how to navigate our system and where to find the necessary documents.
  2. Affected taxpayers also have immediate access to a Frequently Ask Questions (FAQs) document on our website to help them in fulfilling their legal obligations. The FAQs only deals with Adobe Flash issues.
  3. By next week, SARS will establish a dedicated toll-free number specifically to provide further assistance to taxpayers. This number is only to be used to resolve the Flash Adobe challenges. For other enquiries, taxpayers are encouraged to use the SARS Contact Centre.
  4. SARS has been actively engaging the Recognised Controlling Bodies (RCBs). SARS and the RCBs are working together to find workable solutions for the tax practitioner segment. SARS has commissioned a virtual support hub to provide technical support to this cohort of taxpayers in the interim. The virtual support hub will be effective next week.

It is worth noting that over the past year SARS has already migrated several high volume forms to an alternative platform, namely HTML5.

Forms with the greatest volumes migrated to the alternative platform Forms still to be migrated to alternative platforms (currently unsupported)

All returns required for the submission of:

  • Income Tax for individuals
  • Company Income Tax
  • Trusts
  • Registration, Amendments and Verification Form- RAV01
  • PAYE Declarations and related employment tax forms
  • Tax Compliance Status Request- TCR01
  • VAT Declarations and related forms
  • Dividends Tax Transactions Information DTR01
  • Excise Duties & Levies EXD01
  • Manual Declaration of financial Certificates IT3-01 and IT3-02
  • Transfer Duty Declarations TDC01

In line with the service commitment of SARS, the organisation will spare no effort in resolving these matters as speedily as possible.

For more information, please contact