South African Revenue Service, the administration that handles taxes in South Africa, has launched its own browser in recent days. Its purpose is none other than re-enable Adobe Flash Player support on your web page. Adobe ended Flash on December 31, 2020, but not everyone is ready for it to die.
During years Adobe has notified the end of Flash And it has given the entire Internet plenty of time to adapt to new technologies such as HTML 5. Not everyone has done it and often administrative pages have been stuck in time. It happens in South Africa and it also happens in Spain.
In order to completely end the Flash, Adobe activated a “bomb mechanism” that prevents Flash from being played since last January 12. This worked as expected and on January 12 there was no way to run Flash. The South African SARS agency also experienced it on their own meats, seeing how they could not receive tax returns through their web portal since they worked with Flash forms:
SARS is aware of certain forms not loading correctly due to Adobe Flash. We are currently working on resolving the matter and will advise once the problem has been resolved. We sincerely apologize for the current inconvenience.
– SA Revenue Service (@sarstax) January 12, 2021
Last minute solution
Since this past Monday, the official SARS website allows you to download your own browser. Is about a Chromium-based version that only allows access to the SARS website. In addition, and more importantly, it incorporates Flash support again.
The fact that it is limited only to the SARS website prevents the user from being infected by other external channels that often use Flash as a gateway. In that sense it is a plus for SARS. There are not so many points in favor when it comes to accessibility. The browser is only compatible with Windows and therefore there is no way to access the web forms on a Mac or any smartphone. In addition to the fact that the user has to install an extra browser only for a specific web page.
In fairness, this browser as SARS itself has announced, is temporary. The truth is that the agency is transferring its web forms to HTML 5 and some of them already have them. This means that the web can be used from current browsers such as Chrome, Safari or Microsoft Edge. However, there are still some forms not migrated, that is where you will have to use your own browser for now.