Welcome to Customs & excise

SARS’s Customs division plays an integral role in facilitating the movement of goods and people entering or exiting the borders of the Republic.

The Excise division facilitates the levying of duties on certain locally manufactured goods as well as on their imported equivalents.
 
During the lockdown period, for any escalations pertaining to a specific Customs branch, see the Customs Branch Managers contact details. If you need to escalate beyond branch offices, please email [email protected].  
 

Updates on Customs branch, ports, borders etc. closures:

  • 7 August: Ficksburg border post (Lesotho) has been reopened.
  • 6 August: The Maseru Bridge border post (Lesotho) has been reopened.
  • 6 August: Groblers Bridge border post (Botswana) will be closed from 12:00 to 15:00 today.
  • 6 August: The Maseru Bridge border post (Lesotho) is closed until further notice.
  • 5 August: Ficksburg border post (Lesotho) will be closed from 10:00 tomorrow until Friday 7 August.
  • 3 August: Beitbridge border post (Zimbabwe) will be closed from 14:00 to 20:00 today.
  • 2 August: Richards Bay office closed until further notice.
  • 1 August: Jeppes Reef border post (Swaziland) has been reopened.
  • 31 July: Oshoek border post (Swaziland) has been reopened.
  • 31 July: Jeppes Reef border post (Swaziland) closed until further notice.
  • 31 July: Skilpadshek border post (Botswana) has been reopened.
  • 31 July: Customs Albany House (Durban) has been reopened.
  • 30 July: Oshoek border post (Swaziland) closed until further notice
  • 29 July: Skilpadshek border post (Botswana) closed until further notice.
  • 29 July: Customs Albany House (Durban) closed until further notice.
  • 29 July: Golela border post (Swaziland) will reopen at 16:00 this evening.
  • 28 July: Nakop border post (Northern Cape) has been reopened
  • 26 July: Nakop border post (Northern Cape) closed until further notice
  • 25 July: Vioolsdrift border post (Namibia) has been reopened
  • 25 July: Mahamba border post (Swaziland) has been reopened
  • 24 July: Mahamba border post (Swaziland) closed until further notice
  • 24 July: Vioolsdrift border post (Namibia) closed until further notice
  • 22 July: Van Rooyenshek border post (Lesotho) has been reopened
  • 18 July: Groblersbridge Port is closing this evening at 19:00 and reopening 19 July at 06:00 in the morning
  • 18 July: Oshoek border post (Swaziland) has been reopened
  • 18 July: Kopfontein border post (Botswana) has been reopened
  • 17 July 2020 - Customs Albany House in Durban has reopened
  • 16 July 2020 - Lebombo border post has reopened
 
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  • Please take note of the draft amended guidelines for paragraph (a) of rebate item 412.11/00.00/01.00 published by ITAC for comment.

    Due date for comment: 29 June 2020

    Please forward comments electronically to the following official, using
    "Amended Guidelines for Rebate Items 412.11(a)" in the Subject line of the e-mail:
    Alexander Amrein
    Senior Manager: Policy and Research
    E-mail: [email protected]
    ​​
  • 12 June 2020 Rule amendment notice R670 in GG 43435 under sections 19A, 54AA, 105 and 120

    Relief measures under the Customs and Excise Act, 1964 to assist in alleviating the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Customs and Excise sphere, including – DAR197
    • insertion of rule 19A.11 concerning deferral of certain excise duty payments;
    • amendment of rules 54FD.04 and 54FD.05 concerning deferral of first carbon tax submissions and payments; and
    • insertion of rules 105.01 to 105.04 concerning instalment payment 
The effective date of the rule amendments is 12 June 2020, except for rule 19A.11, which commences retrospectively on 1 May 2020.
National Treasury and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) publish, for public comment, the revised 2020 Draft Disaster Management Tax Relief Bill and 2020 Draft Disaster Management Tax Relief Administration Bill. These Bills give effect to the media statement issued by National Treasury on 24 April 2020 regarding further tax measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, following the address by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 21 April 2020.
 
The revised 2020 Draft Disaster Management Tax Relief Bill and the 2020 Draft Disaster Management Tax Relief Administration Bill provide the necessary legislative amendments required to implement the further tax measures aimed at combating the COVID-19 pandemic and also take into account public comments received on the initial batch of COVID-19 draft tax bills published on 1 April 2020.

Public comment to be submitted by 15 May 2020 to [email protected] and Adele Collins at [email protected]


 

  • 14 April 2020 - Application of Origin proof requirement during the COVID-19 crisis under the SADC-EU-EPA

    South Africa and the European Commission has relaxed the requirement to insist on the presentation or submission of original certificates of origin to prove the originating status of goods at the time of clearance. Instead, copies or electronic versions of proof of origin will be accepted in an attempt to curb the spread of the COVID-19. In South Africa, the relaxation of the rules is subject to the submission of the original certificates within 12 months after being issued in the European Union (EU). While Article 26 to Protocol I of the SADC-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) requires the submission of an original proof of origin within ten (10) months, SARS will honour or accept copies or electronic versions of certificates of origin while awaiting the submission of the original versions within twelve (12) months after being issued in the EU.

    Traders are encouraged to register for the generous Approved Exporter Scheme, within the meaning of Article 25 to Protocol I of the SADC-EU EPA, which allows an Origin Declaration to be presented in the importing country no longer than two (2) years after the importation of the products to which it relates. Kindly direct all enquiries in relation to this matter to Mr Alfred Ramoroka at [email protected].

  • 9 April 2020 – Goods qualifying for import VAT exemption under item 412.11 – COVID-19 measures (Updated the 3 April message on 9 April 2020 to reflect additional exclusion communicated by ITAC, with effect from 8 April 2020)

    SARS wishes to clarify that "essential goods" as defined in Regulation R.398 in Government Gazette No 43148 of 25 March 2020, other than the goods mentioned below, are exempt from VAT on importation under item 412.11/00.00/01.00 to Schedule 1 of the Value-Added Tax Act, 1991, read with section 13(3) of that Act. 
     
    Goods that are not exempt from VAT on importation are goods that the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) has indicated are:
    1) dutiable (and no ITAC certificate under item 412.11 of Schedule No. 4 of the Customs and Excise Act, 1964, has been issued);

    2) subject to the duties referred to in 1) but are entering South Africa duty free because of a preferential trade agreement or other agreement, such as a customs union;

    3) the subject of applications for duty support that are currently pending before ITAC; and

    4) manufactured by domestic industry and ITAC has determined such industry is being or is likely to be injured by imports.
    See the illustrative mapping of essential goods to their relevant tariff headings. The illustrative mapping has been prepared at a high level and may include non-essential goods. e.g. Chapters 28 and 29 contain chemicals that are not used for essential goods. Importers must ensure that only essential goods are cleared under item 412.11 to avoid penalties.
     
    Goods excluded from the import VAT exemption under 1) are those goods that are subject to an ordinary customs duty, as set out in Schedule No. 1, or trade remedies (anti-dumping, countervailing or safeguard duty), as set out in Schedule No. 2 to the Customs and Excise Act, 1964. Goods excluded under 2) are also set out in these Schedules. A list of goods excluded under 3) and 4) is available in the relevant ITAC certificate. Click here for the ITAC import VAT certificate dated 30 March 2020. Click here for the ITAC import VAT certificate dated 8 April 2020.
     
    Goods that qualify for VAT exemption and are not dutiable fall under the certificate issued by ITAC in this regard and no individual applications need be submitted to SARS or ITAC.
     
    Importation will follow the normal procedure described in the external policy SC-CF-55 – Clearance declaration external policy. The VAT exemption is only valid for direct importations and not to be cleared into bond or warehousing.  CPC A 14 must be used for importations from outside SACU and CPC A 12 for importations from the BLNS, with measure 412.11/00.00/01.00.
     
    During the COVID-19 pandemic, SARS Customs has also set up a command centre to deal with escalations that may have not been dealt with at branch level. Your existing call reference number, transaction (SSM/LRN) can then be sent to [email protected]. To save duplication and time, clients are reminded that queries must be sent to the relevant branch/processing centre.

    Please note that the VAT treatment of the local supply of goods by an importer or any other vendor is unaffected by the import VAT exemption. The normal provisions of the Value-Added Tax Act, 1991, apply.

  • 9 April 2020 - SADC Guidelines on Harmonisation and Facilitation of Cross Border Transport Operations across the Region During the COVID-19 Pandemic (Updated on 15 April with neighbouring countries details)

    Domestic, interstate and international travel have proven to be one of the main ways the COVID-19 virus is spreading among communities, nations and globally. There is therefore a need to limit travelling and freight movements to the absolutely essential only.

 

  • 9 April 2020 - Notice No. R.458 in Government Gazette No. 43222

    Rule amendment to substitute Rule 24.03 to provide for the exemption of foreign-going ships or aircraft from the payment of duty on stores consumed on such ships in any port in the Republic, or on an aircraft on a flight between any places in the Republic for the duration of the national state of disaster. With retrospective effect from 23 March 2020.

  • 3 April 2020 – Goods qualifying for a full rebate of customs duty and import VAT exemption under 412.11 – COVID-19 measures 
Importation of supplies critical to the national state of disaster necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic can be done free of duty and VAT into South Africa. 
Importers are required to apply to ITAC for a certificate to use that qualifies them to import under rebate item 412.11.
Qualifying products referred to as “critical supplies” are listed on the ITAC website, as is the application form and the SOP.
The importation of these goods will follow the normal Customs procedure described in the external policy SC-CF-55. The rebate item is only valid for direct importations and no bonded or warehouse clearances will be permitted under this rebate item.  CPC A 14 must be used for importations from outside SACU and CPC A 12 for importations from the BLNS, with measure 412.11/00.00/01.00.
If requested to provide supporting documents to Customs, the client would need to upload the certificate issued to the importer by ITAC, along with the standard set of supporting documents to substantiate the import declaration.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, SARS Customs has also set up a command centre to deal with escalations that may have not been dealt with at branch level. Your existing call reference number, transaction (SSM/LRN) can then be sent to [email protected]. To save duplication and time, clients are reminded that queries must be sent to the relevant branch/processing centre.
 
 
  • 3 April 2020 – Treatment of timeframes during period of national lockdown 
     
    Please Note that the Disaster Management Tax Relief Administration Bill, 2020 has been published on the SARS website for public comment. The closing date for comments is 15 April 2020. In terms of proposed clause 5(2)(a)(i) of the Bill, certain time periods prescribed in terms of the Customs and Excise Act, 1964, are suspended for the duration of the national lockdown as defined in clause 1 of the Bill. The time periods that are not extended during the national lockdown are dealt with in clause 5(2)(a)(ii). In respect of these time periods, the current provisions of the Customs and Excise Act, 1964, will apply. Current provisions in terms of the Customs and Excise Act in relation to interest and penalties will continue to apply in respect of non-compliance.
     
  • 2 April 2020 – COVID-19 Export Control Regulation

    SARS has been requested by the Department of Trade and Industry to add the listed goods to its prohibited and restricted list (P&R list) for purposes of export control. It is not a ban. Traders may apply to the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) for an export permit, and if granted the goods may be exported. See the Notice R.424 for more information.

  • 2 April 2020 – Processing of Rules of Origin certificates during lockdown

    Customs clients submitting Certificates of origin, including: Form A, EUR1, SADC, MERCOSUR and AGOA, will continue to do so at their local branch as per communique dated 26 March 2020 (using an appointment process). However, clients in Durban and Cape Town are advised that Certificates of origin will only be processed during the lockdown period on the following days: Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A skeleton staff complement will be deployed to these two Customs hubs to assist on the abovementioned days for limited hours. Please note that receipt and collection of the certificates is to be done between 08:00 and 12:00 on those three days only.

    The hubs are situated at:
    • Durban: Albany House
      61/62 Margaret Mncadi ave
    • Cape Town:  SARS Project 166
      22 Hans Strydom Avenue

  • 1 April 2020 – Draft Disaster Management Tax Relief and Relief Administration Bill

    Following the media statement issued by the Minister of Finance on 29 March 2020 on Tax Measures to Combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Treasury and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) today publish, for public comment, the 2020 Draft Disaster Management Tax Relief Bill and the 2020 Draft Disaster Management Tax Relief Administration Bill. These draft Bills provide the necessary legislative amendments required to implement the COVID-19 tax measures. The measures contained in these draft Bills will take effect on 1 April 2020:
  • 27 March 2020 –  VAT exemption for essential goods on importation (29 March – Updated to reflect scope of customs duty rebate and 3 April – Updated with contact details)

    Due to the measures put in place under the Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002, “essential goods” as defined in Regulation R.398 in Government Gazette No. 43148 of 25 March 2020 will be subject to a VAT exemption on importation during the COVID-19 pandemic, under Item 412.11/00.00/01.00 of Schedule 1 to the Value Added Tax Act 89 of 1991. A full rebate of customs duty under rebate item 412.11 of Schedule No. 4 to the Customs and Excise Act 91 of 1964 is available where ITAC has approved the rebate for the goods concerned. 
  

 

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