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Electronic records: Here's what you need to know

by , 11 August 2015
Since 2012, SARS has laid down certain rules when it comes to any documents that are kept electronically. Here's what you need know about them:

How long must you keep electronic records for?

According to section 29 of the Tax Administration Act (TAA), you must keep electronic records for 5 years. 

Acceptable electronic formats: 

You must be able to: 

Give SARS an electronic copy of the records in a format it can readily access;
Send the records to SARS in an electronic form that's readily accessible or
Give SARS with a paper copy of the records and keep the records in an electronic form that's readily accessible for SARS. 

Where must you keep your records? 

You must keep your electronic records in a place that's physically located in South Africa. 

But, a senior SARS official can give you permission to keep your electronic records outside of South Africa if the official is happy that: 

You can access the electronic records for the duration of the period you legally have to keep them for.. 
The place where the electronic records are kept won't affect access to them. 
There's an international tax agreement for mutual assistance between South Africa and the country you want to keep the electronic records in. 
The form of the records still meets the requirements despite the physical location being outside of South Africa.
You can give SARS an acceptable electronic form within a reasonable time. 

What if you have your own record-keeping system? 
 
If you have your own record-keeping system, then you have to provide: 

A computer manual that adequately describes how your record-keeping system works. 
Or a written document if the above-mentioned manual doesn't adequately describe your electronic record-keeping system.  Furthermore, your written document must clearly describe: 

o How transactions are created, processed and stored. 
o How often electronic records are stored. 
o The format used to store the records. 
o The physical location of where the records are stored and archived.
o Etc. 
 
As you can see, there many requirements you need to meet when it comes to electronic records.
And there are still many more! So click here to get access and see what they are!
 


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