VAT Refunds for Diplomatic Missions

Working paper

  • All working papers must indicate the supplier’s name, invoice number, date and amounts as per the new workbook designed.
  • Once the VAT 201 return has been e-filed, the electronic working paper must be emailed in excel format to the embassy mailbox ([email protected]).
  • Date format must be captured as YYYY-MM-DD.
  • List the same suppliers in date order on the working paper.
  • Verify calculations on the working paper to ensure accuracy.
  • To eliminate cross claiming ensure that the invoice is issued in the correct entity name when branches are registered to an embassy.

Supporting documents

  • Submit only one batch of copies with the VAT 201 claim. This batch will be retained by SARS.
  • White A4 paper size must be used for all copies of invoices. Copies must be of good quality and no information cut off.
  • Tax invoices exceeding a consideration of R200.00 is allowed. Below R200.00 cannot be claimed.
  • All official telephone claims not in the Mission’s name, must be listed on an Embassy letter head and personally signed by the head of the mission.
  • A copy of the contract must be submitted in the following cases: all leased properties, projects and construction and partial payments made. Should an invoice not be clear, the embassy unit may request a copy of the contract.
  • If one payment has been made for numerous invoices it must be combined and listed together on the working paper
  • Re-submissions must be submitted in the next period, include invoice and previous working paper and list them together at the top or the bottom of the new working paper clearly marked ‘resubmissions’.
  • Diplomats cannot claim private expenses except for the VAT on the purchase on private vehicles and fuel levy claims.
  • Submit VAT refunds monthly. If there are no claims submit a nil return.
  • Diplomatic missions can claim for VAT refunds not older than 5 years from the current year. 

Proof of payments

  • Bank statements must be marked with scanner friendly markers and must be visible after photocopies are made.
  • Proof of payments must be attached to all invoices. The following proof of payments are acceptable:
    • Bank charges:
      • Tax invoice from the bank is not a bank statement, as the VAT is not indicated on a bank statement.
    • Debit orders for insurance:
      • Premium notification and bank statement in the name of the mission
      • Tax invoice and bank statement in the name of the mission
      • Copy of the contract with bank statements in the name of the mission showing payments 
    • Proof of Payment general:
      • Receipt from the supplier
      • Bank statement in the name of the mission
      • Payment confirmation letter from the supplier
      • EFT payments – bank statement in the name of the mission
      • Credit card payments – bank statement in the name of the mission

Top Tip: Your claim will be disallowed if you don’t submit a valid tax invoice. For more information, see the Sec 20 (4) Letter to Diplomatic missions.


  • Contact the SARS call centre at 0800 00 72 77 for all e-filing password reset queries.
  • Keep e-filing login details confidential and ensure details are available for the predecessor should the registered efiling user be redeployed.
  •  Complete the latest email address and telephone number on VAT 201 on e-filing, should we need to contact you.
  • VAT vendors can now request and obtain a VAT Notice of Registration on eFiling if they are registered on SARS eFiling, follow these easy steps:
  1. Login to SARS eFiling
  2. Go to the Organizations main menu
  3. Click SARS Registered details on the side menu
  4. Select Notice of Registration
  5. Select VAT

• To transfer embassy VAT profile, click here.


  • Pro-rata VAT calculations on vehicles sold must be approved by DIRCO and calculations are prepared by the embassy unit.
  • Pro-rata VAT can be paid via eft. Contact the embassy unit for banking details.

Customs fuel levy

  • All fuel levy claims must be addressed to Tilla van Zyl: [email protected]
  • If no response from the customs official within 5 working days escalate to [email protected]      

For other customs queries see our Customs FAQs for Embassies.

Change in representative

  • All registered changes can only be done in a branch office and in person or with power of attorney letter.  You can book an appointment to visit a SARS branch.
  • When a new representative person is appointed his/her details must be updated with SARS.
  • See a list of supporting documents that may be required for changing a representative.

Table of Contents

Last Updated: