The South African Revenue Service has published its very own Web browser, with support for Adobe Flash, to allow e-filing taxpapers to continue submitting tax forms electronically.
The is meant as a stopgap measure until Sars can move to more modern HTML5 technology in all of its forms.
Sars was presented with a problem by Adobe’s decision to kill off its Flash Player software, which was integrated into popular browsers such as Google’s Chrome. The tax authority has since moved some forms to HTML5, but others are still only available in Flash. It’s surprising it has taken Sars so long to replace the legacy forms given that Adobe announced in mid-2017 that it would stop supporting Flash Player by the end of 2020.
In a tweet on Monday, Sars said it had found a solution: its very own Web browser, with Flash baked in.
TechCentral downloaded the Sars browser on Monday and discovered it worked as advertised. It can’t, however, be used to access non-Sars websites.
In a letter to taxpayers published on its website, Sars said: “We are pleased to inform you that an alternate Sars browser solution has been implemented, which affords you the ability to complete and submit the Flash-based forms not migrated to HTML5, in the interim, while we complete the migration. The Sars browser enables access to all e-filing forms, including those that require Adobe Flash, thus maintaining compliance with your filing obligations.”
The tax agency emphasised that browsers such as Google’s Chrome and Microsoft’s Edge will work for all forms already migrated to HTML5. These forms include those used for income tax, VAT, pay as you earn and excise duties. Forms not yet migrated away from Flash include:
- RAV01: Registration, amendments and verification
- TDC01: Transfer duty
- IT3-01: Financial certificate information
- IT3-02: Financial declaration
- TCR01: Tax compliance status request
- DTR01: Dividends tax transactions information
- WTI: Withholding tax on interest
The Sars Web browser only works on Microsoft Windows, so Apple Mac users may have to borrow a computer to do their tax filings. — (c) 2021 NewsCentral Media