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South Africa - Payroll Taxes Validations (EMP501 submissions) & Tax adjustments

From time to time, Sage receives requests from customers to assist with the process to adjust the final tax deductions on some employees. These changes are not recommend, as this might result in rejected tax certificates. 


The South African Revenue Service (SARS) will be performing ‘back-end’ payroll taxes calculations (validation process on PAYE and SDL) on the IRP5/IT3(a) certificates after the submission of the EMP501.


If any errors are found by SARS, the employer will receive a “Payroll Taxes Validation Failure” letter, with details of the calculation, and will require the employers to correct the liabilities, and might result in penalties and interest on the declaration.


The purpose of the Payroll Tax Validation letter:

  • To inform the employer of discrepancies on the amount of tax or levies that were deducted for employees. All the certificates submitted were accepted and processed and will be pre-populated on the employee’s income tax return (ITR12).
  • SARS is not validating UIF since the UIF remuneration is not stated on a monthly basis.


SARS has published information about the employment taxes validation (ETV) on their website. This information includes:

  • how to obtain the list of certificates which have failed PAYE and/or SDL validations/SARS calculations (i.e. the tilde (~) delimited text file),
  • how to understand the file layout, and
  • what to do if there are tax calculation differences

Please click here for more information.


Q: How can I validate my tax calculation in the payroll?

A: You can use the following tools to assist you if you want to validate the tax calculation in the payroll.

Take note,  the calculations in the payroll is based on factors e.g. age, service periods and income received.

 Employers are liable to deduct the correct tax liability, and tax adjustments on the payroll are not recommended.