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Can supporting documents be kept only in an electronic format?

09 June 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Author: SAIT Technical
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Author: SAIT Technical

Q: Many clients are moving towards a paperless environment. Is it acceptable to SARS to keep electronic records of invoices, etc, and discard the paper copies?

A: Section 30 of the Tax Administration Act (TAA) deals with this issue:

"30.   Form of records kept or retained.—(1)  The records, books of account, and documents referred to in section 29, must be kept or retained—

a) in their original form in an orderly fashion and in a safe place

b) in the form, including electronic form, as may be prescribed by the Commissioner in a public notice; or

c) in a form specifically authorised by a senior SARS official in terms of subsection (2).

2)  A senior SARS official may, subject to the conditions as the official may determine, authorise the retention of information contained in records, books of account or documents referred to in section 29 in a form acceptable to the official.”

You’ll notice that there’s an "or” between options a,b and c of section 30(1); meaning that the legislation does allow for records to be kept in electronic form.

The public notice referred to in section 30(1)(b) is found in the link below. I suggest you read it in its entirety, but focus especially on point number 3 titled ‘acceptable electronic form’.

http://www.sars.gov.za/AllDocs/LegalDoclib/SecLegis/LAPD-LSec-TAdm-PN-2012-01%20-%20Notice%20787%20GG%2035733%201%20October%202012.pdf

Disclaimer: Nothing in this query and answer should be construed as constituting tax advice or a tax opinion. An expert should be consulted for advice based on the facts and circumstances of each transaction/case. Even though great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the answer, SAIT do not accept any responsibility for consequences of decisions taken based on this query and answer. It remains your own responsibility to consult the relevant primary resources when taking a decision.


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