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Customs Refunds and Drawbacks

What’s New?

  • 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.

  • 26 April 2021 – Changes to Customs Refunds and Drawbacks

The Customs Procedure Code (CPC) and refund or drawback item must appear in the appropriate fields on the export declaration before goods are exported, if the exporter wants to apply for such a refund or drawback. However, the refund or drawback item may be amended or inserted or a CPC can be amended while the goods are still under Customs control or if exceptional circumstances as prescribed in Note 8 to Schedule 5 are approved by Legislative Policy, Customs and Excise. The following annexures to the policy were replaced: the Completion of CR 1, the Completion of DA 63, the Completion of DA 64 and the Completion of DA 66. For more information, see the Refunds and Drawbacks External Policy.

What is it?

A general refund application in terms of Section 76 will be considered from any applicant who contends that he/she has paid any duty/levy for which he/she was not liable to e.g. incorrect rate of exchange/tariff item/value etc, used.

A drawback or a refund of the ordinary customs duty/levy actually paid on entry for home consumption or any imported goods described in Schedule No. 5 will be considered to be paid to a person who paid such duties or any person indicated as prescribed in Section 75.

How to apply for  Refund / Drawback?

A refund can be applied for if the duty was paid in error by using for example the incorrect tariff heading, due to a clerical error on an incorrect calculation or the value of the goods have been cleared incorrectly. Declarations must be amended and submitted electronically to SARS. CR1 and supporting documents must be scanned and attached to case. You can refer to the Clearance declaration policy and Customs Refunds and Drawback policy for more detailed information.


Drawbacks can be applied for on a DA 66, supported by the necessary documentation. Certain drawbacks items 501.00 -521.00 requires, registration prior to the export of goods. Handed to the Controller/Branch manager in whose control area the client conducts their business. Drawback item 521.00 application is subject to a permit issued by ITAC at time of submission of the application. Any drawback application can only be submitted once the final product has been exported. Proof of export is prescribed in the clearance declaration policy. Export declarations must have the correct CPC and drawback item inserted prior to the goods are exported from South Africa.

Top tip: Certain drawback items might require registration as prescribed in Schedule 5. For further details on registration, you can refer to the Registration, Licensing and Designation policy.
Time period
Refund and drawback applications are time sensitive and the period during which the import duty must or may be claimed is limited as prescribed in Section 76B.

Amounts incorrectly refunded
Amounts incorrectly paid out must be recovered in terms of Section 76A. An amended declaration must be processed adjusting the amount (under entry) on the specific import declaration line and duty.

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