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eFiling’s debit pull transactions discontinued

David BadenhorstDebit pull transactions on eFiling are being phased out as part of SARS’ continued efforts to modernise payment and accounting processes. This, in turn, is aimed at enabling tax payers to manage their financial responsibilities more independently and efficiently.

The month-long phasing out process commenced on 4 September 2013. A warning message will appear on eFiling, where a debit pull transaction is no longer available. Clients are encouraged to perform credit push transactions or use one of the alternative methods of payment.

Credit push transactions:

A credit push transaction refers to a payment transaction that is initiated on eFiling and presented at the bank as a payment request awaiting authorisation. Taxpayers are required to log onto internet banking and authorise the payment request to finalise the transaction. Credit push transactions are irrevocable once approved by the user.

In order to perform credit push transactions, one is required to register with one’s bank. Clients are therefore encouraged to contact their banks for further information on how to register and use credit push transactions. The correct access and authority should be granted to all users who wish to perform credit push transactions on eFiling and internet banking.

Clients should note the following:

  1. Where you do not register for credit push transactions immediately, a debit pull payment option will be allowed on condition that you agree to the terms and conditions which appears on the screen.
  2. “Additional Payments” on eFiling for Income Tax, Provisional Tax, Value-Added Tax (VAT) and Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) are not available via the debit pull facility. Please use the credit push facility in these instances.
  3. Alternative methods of payment include: over-the-counter payments at a bank; electronic funds transfer (EFT) using internet banking; and payments at specific SARS branches (including customs).

In response to problems being experienced with the discontinuation of debit pull transactions, SARS informed the South African Institute of Tax Practitioners (SAIT) that, should the taxpayer or tax practitioner agree to the terms and conditions, the debit pull transaction will still be available. However, this only applies when the payment is on a return and if the taxpayer or tax practitioner is not using additional payments.
In this regard, SAIT has communicated the following concerns to SARS: “A question was posed as to whether accepting the ‘terms and conditions’ as you mentioned is not perhaps impossible to do by tax practitioners as you have to be a legal party to the bank account in order to do this and as a tax practitioner, you do not have signing powers on your clients’ bank accounts and by selecting the debit pull option without signing powers, you could be committing a criminal offence. Is this understanding correct?”

Other concerns include:

  • Not all taxpayers are able to implement the proposed changes, especially those who do not use electronic banking or have no access to the internet (such as farmers and fishermen at sea).
  • Practitioners appointed to submit and pay for taxes cannot access their clients’ bank accounts.
  • Clients use practitioners to ensure payments are made on time. What if a client is not available to authorise payment?
  • Employees in a company responsible for payment of, for example, PAYE do not necessarily have access to the bank account to release payments.
  • All tax practitioners need to get a user identity for credit push transactions. However, some banks (such as Standard Bank) do not issue user identities to non-business banking clients.

Exceed is following the progress on this matter and will advise our clients in due course about the outcome.

For more information please contact David Badenhorst of Tenk Loubser & Associates on 021 915 6666 / david@exceed.co.za.