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SARS intros customer-centric channels for Adobe Flash issues

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The South African Revenue Service (SARS) will soon introduce a toll-free number to assist taxpayers experiencing issues as a result of the disruption caused by the termination of support of the Adobe Flash Player.

This follows the revenue service’s admission of the complexity in migrating all forms from Adobe Flash to its chosen HTML5 platform, which resulted in disruptions for taxpayers filing returns.

Even though software company Adobe announced in July 2017 that it will stop supporting Flash Player after 31 December 2020, SARS has been behind in completing the migration process.

On Monday, the tax agency indicated that in light of the disruption caused by the migration holdup, it has decided to implement some remedial actions to assist taxpayers still experiencing issues.

First, SARS says it has set up an e-booking system, which is accessible immediately through its Web site, in order to assist taxpayers facing challenges navigating the system and finding the necessary documents.

Next is making sure affected taxpayers have immediate access to a frequently asked questions (FAQs) document on the SARS site, to help them in fulfilling their legal obligations. The FAQs only deal with Adobe Flash issues, it states.

Thirdly, SARS says by next week it 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.”

Finally, SARS states it 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.”

SARS acknowledges the disruption the migration delay has caused, adding that it duly took note of Adobe’s 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 for many taxpayers, to whom we owe an apology.”

SARS says it will spare no effort in resolving these matters as speedily as possible.

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