Advance Import Payments

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What is the Advance Import Payment Notification?

The Advance Import Payment (AIP) Notification as part of the Advance Payment Notification (APN) project is one of SARS’ Customs Modernisation Programmes which involves a collaboration between SARS, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) and authorised dealers in foreign exchange and aimed at combatting illicit financial flows and customs valuation fraud associated with the misuse of advance foreign exchange payments in respect of goods that are to be imported.

What is the purpose of the APN?

Advance payment notifications make it easy for taxpayers and traders to comply with their tax obligations whilst assisting SARS to detect and make non-compliance hard and costly for those traders and taxpayers who do not comply. The APN process ensures that traders notify SARS of their intention to apply to an authorised dealer for an advance foreign exchange payment for imported goods. This further prevents underpayment of customs duties and taxes, valuation fraud and illicit financial flows related to the importation or non-importation of goods following advance foreign exchange payments.

What are the obligations of importers in respect of APN?

With effect from 01 December 2023, authorised dealers (banks) are obligated to record, validate and report the APN provided by a trader/importer to the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) when such payment is concluded. This means that authorised dealers will only make Advance Import Payments on confirmation of a valid SARS APN.

Anticipated benefits from the AIP implementation

  • Addressing money laundering and profit shifting through the alignment of payments with declarations.
  • Supporting various business areas within SARS by providing for the cross-verifying of payments against declarations.
  • Empowering Authorised Dealers to authenticate clients import credentials prior to facilitating advanced import payments.
  • Identifying Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs): Recognising import payments lacking a corresponding customs declaration.
  • Detection of under valuation risk and Initiating cases for audit and investigation purposes.

Need help?

For queries and more information, kindly email the Balance of Audit Payment team on [email protected].

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