Customs and Excise

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. See the Customs Branch contact details or if you need to escalate beyond branch offices, please email [email protected].  

The Excise division facilitates the levying of duties on certain locally manufactured goods as well as on their imported equivalents.

Updates on Customs branch, ports, borders:

  • 16 September 2022 – Customs cargo delays at Lebombo border post

    SARS is aware of the current cargo delays at Lebombo border post. The delays are as a result of the implementation of the new Temporary Import Permit (TIP) payment system. Even though transporters were given sufficient notice to comply with the new requirements (e.g. cash not accepted anymore), measures are being implemented to speed up the process and engagements with Mozambique are being initiated to resolve the issues. Please note that no transporters without cashless activation should enter the N4 beyond last tollgate to avoid long standing times.

  • 22 June 2022 – Discontinuation of General Codes – Extension

    We previously advised that SARS, in consultation with the South African Express Parcel Association (SAEPA), the South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF), and the Air Cargo Operators’ Committee (ACOC), have agreed to discontinue the Non-Registered Cargo Reporter Code “ZZZ99999” from 1 June 2022, and the Ex Courier Code “000” from 20 June 2022.

    SARS has received requests to allow an extension to give cargo reporters additional time to register, complete their systems development, and ensure that changes are made to their operational processes to accommodate these measures.

    As SARS is committed to working with and through stakeholders to increase tax compliance, the expiry date in respect of both the above codes will be extended to 31 July 2022.

    For more information, see our letter to Trade.

  • 3 June 2022 – Charter and Passenger Cargo
    The previously communicated letter, “Discontinuation of General Codes”, dated 11 May 2022 refers.

    Following further discussions with the South African Express Parcel
    Association (SAEPA), the South African Association of Freight
    Forwarders (SAAFF), and the Air Cargo Committee (ACOC), SARS will
    make the following codes available for use in respect of Charter Cargo not
    transported under a Master Air Waybill (MAWB) or Master Bill of Lading
    (MBL), as well as for Passenger Carried Cargo.
    • ZCH – Charter Cargo (No MAWB / MBL)
    • ZCP – Passenger Carried Cargo

For more information, see our letter to Trade.

  • 11 May 2022 – Discontinuation of General Codes

    The ePenalty letter to Trade dated 29 April 2022 has reference. SARS, in consultation with the South African Express Parcel Association (SAEPA), the South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF), and the Air Cargo Operators’ Committee (ACOC), have agreed to discontinue the Non-Registered Cargo Reporter Code “ZZZ99999” from 1 June 2022, and the Ex Courier Code “000” from 20 June 2022.

    For more information, see our letter to Trade.

  • 29 April 2022 Extension of ePenalty Pilot
  • 1 April 2022Extension of the ePenalty deadline

    As some reporters are currently still in the process of making systems and operational changes to ensure full reporting compliance, industry has requested SARS to extend the pilot once again. Taking this into consideration, SARS will extend the pilot by another month until 30 April 2022. The imposition of monetary penalties for the non-submission of cargo reports will now commence from 1 May 2022.

  • 24 February 2022 – On-boarding of existing Customs clients to the new Registration, Licensing and Accreditation (RLA) system

    The implementation of the new RLA system was initially designed to cater only to clients submitting new applications. Clients who were already registered on the old system, i.e. via a DA185 application were not required to re-register on the new RLA system. The system was designed on a first-in-first-out principle and clients that required re-registering on the new RLA system would severely impact the turnaround times (TAT) of new applications due to operational capacity constraints. For more information, see our letter to Trade.
  • 26 January 2022 – International Customs Day

    Join us for International Customs Day. Customs administrations around the world and SARS will be celebrating International Customs Day on Wednesday, 26 January 2022. Join SARS  here for a live discussion and virtual commemoration of International Customs Day.

  • 4 January 2022 – Letter to Trade on the extension of ePenalty

    The ePenalty pilot focussed on the submission of advance loading and arrival cargo reports for imported goods in the sea and air modalities, as well as on export goods in the rail modality. The purpose was to provide cargo reporters with specific details of potential non-compliance on cargo reporting for them to take remedial action before monetary penalties are imposed. Following the conclusion of the pilot, engagements with affected stakeholders highlighted the need to receive additional ePenalty compliance letters to aid in further identifying potential shortcomings in the reporting of cargo by trade.

    SARS is committed to make it easy for traders to comply with their
    obligations and to work with them to improve their reporting compliance. As a result, it has been decided to extend the ePenalty pilot to 31 March 2022.

  • 26 November 2021 – Advance Payment Notification

    As part of the Customs Modernisation Programme (CMP), authorised dealers in foreign exchange and currency, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) and SARS are collaborating to combat illicit financial flows and customs valuation fraud associated with the misuse of advance foreign exchange payments in respect of goods to be imported.

    On 3 December 2021, SARS will be implementing a new functionality on its eFiling platform for importers to notify SARS of their intention to apply to an authorised dealer for an advance foreign exchange payment in respect of goods to be imported. For more information, see the letter to Trade.

  • 22 November 2021 – Expiry date indicated on confirmation of registration on RLA system no longer applicable

    The expiry date indicated on confirmation of registration on Registration Licensing and Accreditation (RLA) system no longer applicable, for more information click here.

  • 11 November 2021 – Update and state of play of the AfCFTA

    Preferential trade under the AfCFTA is not yet possible as the tariff schedules required are still being negotiated. Once an agreement is reached on the tariff schedules, they will be appended to Annex 1 to the AfCFTA for adoption by the AU Submit. See the letter to Trade.  

  • 11 October 2021 – Calculation of national currencies for the various trade agreements were published on the Rules of Origin webpage under Customs:

  • 7 October 2021 – Automated controls for Rebate Item 536 during the COVID-19 pandemic

    The purpose of this letter is intended to ease and stream line the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) report stamp requirement under refund claim 536 and to provide control measures during the COVID pandemic and beyond through limiting physical contact, giving direct access and allowing for an automated assessment/verification as a control measure for Customs officers to perform their legislative and operational requirements for verification and assessment. See the Letter to Trade.

  • 30 September 2021 – Updated Customs Clearance Declarations

    The acquittal process of bonded and transit goods has been enhanced.  The information previously published in SC-TR-01-02 and SC-TR-01-03 has been inserted in SC-CF-54 and SC-CF-55 respectively, if it is still relevant to the new acquittal process.

    Customs will, on a risk based approach, stop goods that are in bond or in transit through South Africa and request supporting documents.  A Documentary Inspector will forward the case for a physical inspection.  The case will then be conditionally released. Proof that the goods were exported from South Africa or has left the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) must be uploaded by the declarant to the case within thirty (30) days.

    The completion of declaration manual (SC-CF-04) and its annexures have been re-numbered and is included as annexures in the external clearance declaration policy (SC-CF-55).  The Facility Code List SC-CF-04-A08 has been renumbered as SC-CF-19-A02 and incorporated into the external registration, licensing and designation policy (SC-CF-19).

    The printing of CN1 and CN2 at land-border posts are no longer part of the process.

    The annexures are attached to external policies.

    See the updated documents:

  • 17 September 2021 – Implementation of Manual Case Creation (MCC) MobiApp for customs officers

    On 20 September 2021, The South African Revenue Service (SARS) will implement enhancements to the Inspection Workflow System by introducing a Mobile Manual Case Creation (MCC) Application (MobiApp) at designated land ports of entry. See the Letter to Trade.
  • 10 September – Registration Licensing and Accreditation (RLA) update

    On 10 September 2021, SARS will implement an additional enhancement to the Registration, Licensing and Accreditation (RLA) system. For more information, see our letter to Trade.

  • 27 August 2021 – Pilot of Number Plate Recognition system

    SARS will soon pilot a new Number Plate Recognition (NPR) system to eliminate the need for manifests and CN2 notices to be presented at the border for arrival and exit control measures. For more information, see our letter to Trade.

  • 27 August 2021 – Pilot of ePenalty System

    SARS has developed an ePenalty system under its Reporting of Conveyances and Goods (RCG) project to identify instances of noncompliance with prescribed reporting obligations and to penalise cargo reporters accordingly. For more information, see our letter to Trade.

  • 5 August 2022 – Taxing of Alcohol Powder Products
    The current excise duty regime applies a flat excise rate of 34.7c/kg for traditional African beer powder. As there are similar products on the market, and in the interest of equity, these alcohol powder products will be included in the tax net with an excise rate equivalent to that of the traditional African beer powder from 1 October 2022. In terms of the National Treasury’s proposal, alcohol powder products classified as preparations for use in the manufacturing of alcoholic beverages will be taxed. See the letter to trade here.

  • 14 April 2022 – Marking of imported unmarked illuminating kerosene / specified aliphatic hydrocarbon solvents 
    SARS wishes to clarify the process to deal with the licensed warehousing for the marking of imported unmarked illuminating kerosene / specified aliphatic hydrocarbon solvents (AHS).See our letter to Trade here.


  • 11 April 2022 – End of temporary registrations issued in terms of Note 4A of Schedule No.6 Part 1D

    All temporary registrations issued during the period as specified ceased with immediate effect when the state of national disaster ended. Clients who wish to continue utilising rebate item 621.08 must follow the standard registration process to continue to receive ethyl alcohol under rebate. For the detail, click here.

  • 4 February 2022 – Excise Payment Dates for 2022


  • 18 August 2021 – FAQs for Tax Relief on Excise Duty

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