Diplomatic Missions

The Diplomatic Missions (DMs) page represents the needs and interests of all Embassies, High Commissions, Consulates, International Organizations, and other representation registered for Value Added Tax (VAT) and Pay-as-You-Earn (PAYE).

To optimize the contribution from DMs, it is important for SARS to work with and through stakeholders to improve the tax ecosystem, provide clarity and certainty through appropriate interventions, training and education thus making it easy and simple for DMs to comply with their tax responsibilities.

The intent of this page is for DMs to develop the general tax knowledge and skills level to demonstrate voluntary tax compliance. 

Value Added Tax (VAT) Relief

Diplomatic Missions are not obligated to register for any taxes but can do so on a voluntary basis. VAT is reimbursed for all official claims made by Diplomatic Missions. Diplomatic Missions may import or purchase locally, motor vehicles with exemption from Customs duty and taxes. A Diplomat may request the reimbursement for the VAT paid on the purchase of a private vehicle.

Locally Recruited Personnel

Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges Amendment Act makes provision for the immunities and privileges of diplomatic missions and consular posts and their members, of heads of states, special envoys, and certain representatives, of the United Nations, and its specialised agencies, and other international organisations and of certain other persons. This act does not grant locally recruited personnel employed at Diplomatic Missions the same immunities and privileges as a diplomat accredited by DIRCO.

Locally recruited personnel who are South African residents and citizens are required to adhere to their tax obligations. Diplomatic Missions are encouraged to register as an Employer deducting PAYE from their locally recruited employees. As a guideline for Diplomatic Missions requesting to register as an employer for the benefit of the locally recruited employees, see the following webpage: Registering for Employees’ Tax [Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE)].

If the DM is registered as an employer, the LRP will be issued with an IRP5 at the end of a financial year for tax filing purposes. The LRP will be required to register for Income Tax.

Alternatively, if the DM is not registered as an employer, the LRP should register for Income tax and submit a Provisional Tax return.

The following channels may be used for an LRP to verify their tax compliance:

The SARS business unit that deals with Diplomatic Mission queries only can be contacted at: [email protected]

Useful South African links

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