Ina Opperman

By Ina Opperman

Business Journalist

Sars finally has a plan to deal with discontinued Flash support

More than three years after Adobe announced its intention to end support for Flash Player in 2020, Sars seems to have come up with a solution for its tax submission services, which were based on the technology.

The South African Revenue Service (Sars) has now implemented a browser solution that will enable users to complete and submit the Flash-based forms not yet migrated to HTML5.

Sars said earlier that it was aware of Adobe’s notice to discontinue support for some of its products after December 2020 and had already migrated the vast majority of its most critical forms to alternative platforms, most notably HTML5.

Sars apologised to taxpayers for the disruption in services after support for the Adobe Flash Player platform was terminated on 12 January this year. However, Sars admitted that it erred in its interpretation that the functionality would continue beyond the support date, creating frustration for many taxpayers.

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It first focused on the major tax types with the highest volumes and this is now largely completed and operationally stable, but had planned the migration of all forms as a priority. The migration itself is very complex and requires the development, testing and deployment of new forms, Sars said.

The data fields in the forms are underpinned by thousands of technical, administrative and complex business rules to ensure the integrity of data, efficient processing and accurate assessment results. Due to the complexity and need to deliver properly tested and working forms, Sars had to prioritise the major tax types with the highest volumes. The remainder is planned for 2021.

Sars said in a statement that it also experienced issues as a result of some recent internet browser updates, affecting a limited set of Adobe forms currently available on eFiling.

ALSO READ: Sars apologises to taxpayers over service disruption

“We apologise for the inconvenience that was caused. The SARS Browser enables access to all eFiling forms, including those that require Adobe Flash Player. Please note that the SARS Browser will require software to be installed on the computers of taxpayers and traders and is currently only compatible with Windows devices,” Sars said.

This is a standalone browser and cannot be used to browse the internet.

Download the Sars browser

Taxpayers can fill in the form here.

After filling in the form, you can download the browser here.

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