Instead of fully migrating to HTML5, SARS has built its own browser

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As of 31st December 2020, Adobe no longer supports Flash Player. This means that you should uninstall the program from your PC.

We say this because Adobe will no longer be providing updates or security patches for Flash Player and if you are still using the application, you’re putting yourself at risk.

But this news isn’t really news because Adobe announced that it would be ending support for Flash Player in 2017. This should’ve given developers enough time to migrate systems and sites that employ the use of Flash.

But rather than adapt to newer standards such as HTML5, WebGL and WebAssembly as quickly as possible, the South African Revenue Services (SARS) has instead opted to create its own browser. While SARS has migrated some forms to HTML5, many more haven’t been and so you will have to download this SARS browser in order to complete certain forms.

“Existing browsers such as Chrome and Edge will continue to work for all forms already migrated with the major and high volume ones being Income Tax (Personal Income Tax (PIT), Provisional Tax, Corporate Income Tax (CIT) & Trusts), Value Added Tax, Pay as you Earn and Excise,” explained SARS.

Completion of the following forms however, will require the new SARS browser.

  • 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

The browser is free to download and while it looks like a browser, smells like a browser and tastes like a browser, the only website you can access is the SARS efiling website.

In order to download the SARS browser you will need to head to this website, complete a form which includes your ID or Passport number and contact information. The download itself is 82MB and once installed it will use 175MB.

We’ve downloaded and installed the browser and it works as promised. We’d even go so far as to say the SARS website is faster and more responsive in this browser compared to something like Chrome. This isn’t a surprise when you consider the developers only created this browser for one website.

The question that keeps clawing at the back of our mind though is why this browser has to exist in the first place.

Adobe announced it was ending support for Flash in 2017, giving folks three years to transition away from the application.

Further to that, if you are using an Apple notebook or desktop, this browser won’t work for you, hell, you won’t be able to go further than downloading it.

We hope that SARS is working as fast as possible to migrate its remaining forms to HTML5 though we wonder how much time was spent on this browser that could’ve been spent on migration.

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.