30 April 2013 is the deadline for the 2012/2013 filing of the Return of Earnings forms for all employers. The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) advises employers who have filed manually over the past years, to consider filing on-line.
Juanita Steenekamp, SAICA’s project director: Governance explains that the Return of Earnings form must be filed in accordance with the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA).
“The form includes information about all employees. COIDA provides these employees with compensation should they get injured during a workplace incident.”
These forms are assessed by the Department of Labour (the Department) and employers pay a fee for every employee depending on the number of employees they employ as well as the type of work they perform.
The provisional maximum earnings threshold for the 2012/2013 filing period from 1 March 2013 to 28 February 2014 is R312 480.
File manually or online
Employers have two ways of filing this information:
- They can complete a manual form which they receive via post from the Department
- They can submit on the on-line system which was implemented by the Department during the 2012/2013 filing period.
The Department will only mail the manual forms to all employers who are not registered on-line.
Post Office strike could impact manual filers
The manual forms are posted annually to employers but due to the current South African Post Office strike, delays are anticipated.
“Similar delays were also experienced during the 2011/2012 filing season, after which the Compensation Commission provided an extension of the filing date.”
Steenekamp advises that there is currently no extension for the 2012/2013 filing season. Employers need to be proactive and make other means of ensuring that they file on time and avoid being penalised.
“However employers who are registered to submit on-line can only make their submission through the website from 2 April 2013 when the website is active.
Incentives for online submissions
The Department has released some incentives for on-line submissions, effective from 1 April 2013. These incentives are meant to motivate employers to register on the website as this would speed up the assessment and payment process.
These incentives have been granted by the Director-General of Labour and are applicable for the 2013/14 financial year.
The Department has also provided amnesty for employers to submit all outstanding Return of Earnings for the past four years before 30 June 2013 without incurring any penalties.
Steenekamp adds that because of the non-compliance with the filing requirements, as well as the late filing of these forms resulting in penalties, SAICA is engaging with the Department to seek resolutions to the challenges resulting from the postal services strikes.