South African Institute of Professional Accountants Offers Guidance to Accountants on COVID-19 Economic Provisions


Event Africa Contributor 04/04/2020 COVID-19

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President Ramaphosa announced measures the government will be taking to minimise the local economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiatives are aimed at reducing loss of income for small businesses and protecting jobs.

In direct response to the measures, the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA) held a member engagement webinar on 31 March with several subject matter experts from the Institute in attendance to offer guidance.

Offering clarity

According to Faith Ngwenya, Technical and Standards Executive at the Institute, the purpose was to provide its members with clarity around the new proposals and the relief measures that have been implemented by government.

“We realise that fake news and misinformation are spreading rapidly, and we are committed to providing authoritative guidance on the regulations to ensure they are implemented correctly,” she says.

Relief Measures

The webinar was backed by interactive chat that allowed the participants to submit their pressing questions in parallel with the presentations.

The first segment unpacked relief measures offered by the Department of Labour in terms of the proposed Compensation Fund and UIF allowances. This was followed by details on the steps being taken by the Department of Small Business Development to provide support for small businesses. Tax relief around PAYE, Provisional Tax and VAT deferments were also covered.

However, the last speaker emphasised that, although certain concessions were being implemented to protect small business cash flow, tax deadlines remained fixed and needed to be met.

This was punctuated by a senior SARS official, who spontaneously joined the discussion to offer his input.

Essential services

Members expressed several concerns through chat. Many asked how to apply for an essential service permit for clients who were sole traders, as they were not registered on the CIPC website where the permits are obtained.

Small business owners will typically turn to their Professional Accountants to help them submit applications for relief, essential services permit and other matters during this time. Says Ngwenya. “Since many of these submissions must include cash flow statements, other financial reports and supporting documents, it is critical that our members remain informed on the latest requirements.”

Conclusion

Ngwenya says the Institute continues to engage with government bodies at all levels to ensure its members deliver critical accounting and tax services correctly in the public interest.

She invites Professional Accountants and members of the public to visit the SAIPA website at www.saipa.co.za for daily updates on current regulations.