Johannesburg, 22 January 2020: Tax year end is usually a highly stressful time for organisations of every size and type, and particularly the employees who are tasked with managing their Payroll and HR. Added pressures and overtime become the norm in the weeks leading up to tax year end, and most view the season as an onerous task that they would rather avoid altogether.
“However, despite the fact that it’s a universally unpopular time, it is something that every business must ensure they are prepared for, as this will help keep the stress and overtime to a minimum,” says Sandra Crous, MD of PaySpace, a leader in cloud-based payroll and human capital management software.
In terms of preparation, Crous advises training is a good starting point, as it helps reacquaint the team with all the processes that need to be followed and will bring them up to speed with any changes in legislation that might have happened since the last season. “Understanding the process, being able to complete the requirements and knowing what new regulations might need to be incorporated, will help the team work quickly and confidently.”
Another way to significantly lessen the stress of tax season, is by staying organised, and ensuring that all records of receipts, expenses and payments are up to date, as SARS often needs supporting documents to substantiate any claims by the company. “Make sure everything is organised in a way that is simple and accessible, as this will dramatically reduce the pressure on the HR and payroll staff. In addition, make sure all your employee data, tax numbers and similar are up to date, to avoid any errors that will set you back in terms of time and deadlines.”
Further to this, Crous encourages to involve management teams and business leaders, by informing them of your plans and processes ahead of time. “This will ensure minimal disruption to the business and will also ensure that any support is on hand if needed. Bear in mind that tax year end means having to go through a year’s worth of payroll data, so sometimes a few extra pairs of hands are needed to ensure that no steps or data are neglected or overlooked. Being organised also helps maximise deductions and reimbursements without the pain of scrambling to find misplaced financial records. Additionally, it makes it possible to file taxes at the earliest possible time as paperwork is readily available at your fingertips.
Finally, Crous emphasises do not procrastinate. “As the old adage goes, ‘procrastination is the thief of time’, so unless you want to turn an already stressful time into a nightmare, do not wait until the very last minute to prepare and file the organisation’s taxes. Every year SARS reports that many companies wait until the last minute, and many more end up having to ask for an extension, which can end up costing the business in penalties.”