The South African Revenue Service (SARS) revealed that it has found a workaround for the issues it was having with Adobe Flash Player, which was preventing taxpayers from utilising the revenue service's online filing system, on Monday, January 25.
Most of the tech world, including Microsoft and Adobe itself, announced that Adobe Flash Player would cease to be supported at the end of 2020. Google's Chrome 88 browser also does not support it nor does Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer 11.
Technology may have progressed past the need for the once useful Flash Player, as there are better options that offer more security available such as HTML5, but SARS has not – several important forms on its website still rely on Flash.
The tax authority apologised to citizens for the inconvenience caused and promised to unveil a solution to the problem very soon. Most people assumed the solution would entail upgrading to HTML5.
They were wrong.
Introducing the SARS Browser...
To the surprise and dismay of many SARS revealed that it has developed its very own web browser, the SARS Browser, which continues to use Adobe Flash, obviously.
Although the announcement was met with jeers on social media it is just a temporary solution to ensure that people can submit their online tax returns while SARS completes the full migration to HTML5.
"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," said SARS in a statement.
"The SARS Browser enables access to ALL eFiling forms, including those that require Adobe Flash, thus maintaining compliance with your filing obligations."
Forms that can be accessed via the browser include:
- RAV01 Registration, Amendments and Verification Form
- 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
While existing browsers including Chrome and Microsoft Edge can be used for the forms that have already been successfully migrated.
The SARS Browser cannot be used to peruse the internet at large – in case you were wondering – and only allows users to access to the SARS eFiling website and SARS Corporate website.
Oh, and the browser is only currently only compatible with Windows devices.
To download the SARS Browser visit this link: https://tools.sars.gov.za/webtools/sarsbrowser/browserdownload.aspx
If you do not want to go through the trouble of downloading a browser just to do your taxes, have a look at our guide on how to do it with your regular browser: Adobe Flash affecting SARS online filing: how to deal with it