The current tax year to 28 February 2010 is the last year in which SA Revenue Services will allow the “deeming provision” where the first 18000km is deemed to be private travel and the balance up to a further 14 000km is deemed business travel. From 1 March 2010 taxpayers claiming a deduction for business travel must keep, and produce on request, a detailed logbook.
“Keeping an accurate manual logbook requires disciplined recording of firstly, the starting mileage on 1 March and the year end mileage on 28 February and secondly all business travel conducted during the year. There are drawbacks to manual recording as it is possible to forget to note mileages and the logbook itself can be lost or damaged,” says Grant Lloyd, managing director at Softline Pastel Payroll.
“However, companies with Pastel Payroll software can use an employee self-service (ESS) module that, among other useful services to staff, contains an electronic logbook facility designed to easily and fully record business travel claims.”
With the ESS module employees each have a secure login to their profile and can capture the business kilometres they have travelled either daily or weekly. They can do this from any location, provided they have an internet connection.
“The detail of claimable kilometres can be sent to the payroll administrator and exported into a batch file for incorporation into the individual’s payslip so that they are automatically reimbursed at the company rate. Variances in rates depending on department or staff seniority are automatically applied.”
Lloyd adds that all mileage entries are stored in the database so that employees can log in at tax year end and export their entire logbook to a Microsoft® Excel format. This way it is very simple to produce a record of non-reimbursable business travel claims that can be consolidated with the employees’ reimbursable travel claims and submitted to SARS at the end of the tax year in a format that meets SARS requirements.
The ESS module also offers a user-friendly means of streamlining payroll and HR administration while at the same time improving staff communications with department heads, administrators and management. It optimises web technology to break down distance barriers and is therefore an ideal communication solution for companies operating with remote branches or those that have sales representatives out on the road.
Sound control features allow management to define staff access according to status and needs and the module is seen as another step towards the paperless office, enabling staff to make on-line applications for leave, salary advances, loans, sponsorships, bursaries or other financial assistance. Staff can also view current and historic payslips, and securely keep these records in an electronic format.
Bureau clients who outsource their payroll system and administration to Pastel Payroll can also allow their staff to use the ESS module to communicate with their ‘virtual payroll administrator’ and access the same functionality, including the electronic business travel logbook.