Duties and Taxes for Importers

What duties are levied on imported goods?

Three kinds of duties are levied on imported goods:

  • Customs duties (including additional ad valorem duties on certain luxury or non-essential items)
  • Anti-dumping and countervailing duties
  • VAT (which is also collected on goods imported and cleared for home consumption). 

Anti-dumping and countervailing duty

Anti-dumping and countervailing duties are levied:

  • On goods considered to be “dumped” in South Africa; and
  • On subsidised imported goods.  

These goods are the subject of investigations into pricing and export incentives in the country of origin; the rate imposed will depend on the result of the investigations. These duties are either levied on an ad valorem basis (as a percentage of the value of the goods) or as a specific duty (as cents per unit).   The amount and type of duty imposed on a product is determined by the following main criteria:

  • The value of the goods (the customs value)
  • The volume or quantity of the goods
  • The tariff classification of the goods (the tariff heading). 

How is VAT calculated on imported goods?

The VAT rate in South Africa is currently 15%.   To calculate VAT on imported goods, the ATV (added tax value) needs to be determined first.   This is done as follows:   [(Customs Value + 10% thereof) + (any non-rebated duties levied on the goods)] x 15% = [ATV] x 15% = VAT payable  

  • The 10% mark-up on the customs value in this calculation is applicable when goods are imported from a country outside the Customs Union. Therefore, if goods have their origin in any of the BLNS countries (Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia or Swaziland), the 10% will not be added to the calculation.
  • When goods are exported to any of the BLNS countries, the same applies (no mark-up on the customs value to determine ATV). 

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