SARS has told MyBroadband that it plans to move away from Adobe Flash for its eFiling website.
The announcement comes after users on newer browsers, including Chrome, experienced difficulties in submitting their tax returns online.
The eFiling website, while easy-to-use and effective, has been built to be “optimally viewed in Internet Explorer versions 8+ browsers”, and requires the “latest version of Adobe Flash player and Adobe Reader”.
Web browsers such as Chrome often block Flash by default, and big local companies – including DStv and Ster-Kinekor – have moved away from the technology when it comes to their online properties.
A reason for ditching Flash is its vulnerability to exploits and attacks.
Moving to HTML5
SARS said it plans to upgrade the eFiling platform to work optimally on newer and different browsers, and will drop Adobe Flash.
“The SARS ICT strategy is to move away from proprietary technologies like Adobe Flash, which is currently required to view our forms, and has adopted HTML5 as the standard for its electronic channels going forward,” said SARS.
“This will allow eFiling to be device and browser compatible as far as possible, while strengthening security. The implementation of this strategy has become a priority for SARS.”
Another issue which taxpayers reported was the need to view their return assessment form (ITA34) in Adobe Acrobat Reader. SARS also advises users to disable Chrome’s built-in PDF viewer when downloading the form.
SARS said its current Notice of Assessment forms are built on Adobe Dynamic PDF technology, and Adobe Reader is required to view their content.
“Generic PDF viewers do not incorporate appropriate viewing capabilities. The strategic intent of SARS ICT is to ensure that assessment forms are built on open standards,” said SARS.
It added that of the tax returns submitted so far, 66% have been via eFiling. A further 33% have been filed electronically at SARS branches, resulting in an electronic submission total of 99%.