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Are you following these 6 SARS rules regarding your electronic records?

by , 25 February 2016
In a technological age, it's only logical to assume that more and more businesses are keeping records electronically for VAT purposes.

And for any electronic records which you have, there are specific criteria which SARS has set out for you to follow.

If you fail to do so, you'll be held liable for serious penalties, and interest!

Of those rules, there are 7 you have to follow for any non-paper based records which you've scanned onto your computer.

So make sure you're compliant with them to avoid stringent SARS penalties...


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Maintain a proper audit trail in order to prove the claims you've made on your VAT returns.


Always keep the necessary equipment to produce a paper copy of any scanned documents at your premises.


Any paper copies which have been scanned in and printed out must be clearly marked as 'Copy'.

The copies should be of a good quality and easy to understand.


You must create and maintain a functional index of all the scanned documents.

In other words, you should index your documents in a way that can be used effectively and efficiently.

For example, this could in numerical, alphabetical or even supplier format.


The database MUSTN'T allow for any alteration or manipulation to the scanned documents.

You must store it in a PDF format or encrypt it if you're keeping it online (such as on a cloud drive).

It's difficult to see if a document wasn't tampered with before it was scanned in. But SARS would do this by checking if the supplier's invoice matches yours.


DON'T simply scan everything onto your computer and then destroy the original hard copies.  

You still have to keep your ledgers, cash books, journals and paid cheques in paper-based formats.
At the end of the day, rules are rules to SARS. And if you make a mistake, it's simply considered a breach of them, regardless of whether it was based deliberate or negligent action.

So don't take any chances, and instead follow these rules 'to a T'.
*To learn more details on keeping electronic records for VAT purposes, go to chapter R 04 in your Practical VAT Loose Leaf Service, otherwise click here to get your hands on this fantastic resource today. 

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