I’m delighted to announce that Xero has integrated with the South African Revenue Service (SARS), to launch a VAT eFiling beta. The closed beta is live now, with general release set for Q1 2021 when all Xero small business and accounting customers will be able to eFile directly with SARS.
This follows the launch of two other Xero VAT products earlier this year – the VAT Return Form and VAT Late Claims functionality.
We know that processing VAT is one of the biggest pain points for businesses and a significant drain on resources. We’ve developed this new suite of cloud tools to allow businesses to prepare, store and submit VAT returns to SARS from just one platform. This will mean greater efficiency, less errors, reduced admin and will give businesses better control over their finances.
It’s a critical time for small businesses and having the right digital tools to support recovery will be essential. Our latest research shows that 97% of South African small businesses have adopted new technology to help streamline processes over the last year. For many, having the right tech has helped them transform the way they do business during the pandemic.
We hope these new innovations will help ease the compliance burden for small businesses and their advisors, giving them more time back to focus on growth during this challenging time. We spoke with two of our accounting partners, who have been trialing the new tools, and they said:
Nicole Rousseau, Head of PKF Ignite
“Xero’s new VAT tools are the solution we have needed for many years to help SMEs, and it will revolutionise the way we advise our clients. This move reaffirms Xero’s commitment and dedication to the small business owner, and we are proud to have been part of the testing team as Xero developed this.”
Amanda Orselli, Head of BDODrive South Africa
“This is a significant step forward for the accounting industry, giving us one platform to monitor and manage VAT compliance for our clients. This speaks to the future of our industry and the role digitisation can play in improving efficiencies and streamlining workflows. It will help us to equip small businesses with the right tools to free them up from admin, so they can remain focussed on growth.”
Mike Anderson, Founder and CEO of The National Small Business Chamber (NSBC)
“The small business community is already facing so many challenges. As they continue to weather the storm, they need time to focus on their recovery. It’s great to see this kind of innovation helping to automate and digitise processes like VAT – keeping SMEs compliant and giving them time back to focus on the most important things. We hope to see more areas of small business going this way in future.”
Shahied Daniels, Chief Executive of the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA)
“This is a great step forward in the wider industry’s mission to set Professional Accountants up for the future and with the right tools to embrace 4IR. Professional Accountants have an essential role to play in the future of South Africa’s economy, and digitisation of processes like VAT will be vital in enabling this.”
Jeanne Viljoen, Project Director for Practices at the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA)
“Making tax simpler is key in reducing costs associated with compliance. These VAT tools not only make it easier for businesses to be compliant but also save time. This allows business owners to focus on their business rather than the admin. Embracing technology streamlines processes and creates a collaborative working arrangement between businesses, accounting firms and government.”
If you’d like to find out more about eFiling and the latest Xero VAT features you can sign up for Xero’s education month here. Running for the full month of February, there will be a specific ‘Tax Lab’ session which includes an eFiling demo. Register for the Tax Lab
You can also find out more about the VAT Return Form and Late Claims functionality here. We’ll share more on VAT eFiling with SARS as we get closer to general release.