FAQs for Sugary Beverages Levy

General FAQs

What is the purpose of SBL? The purpose of SBL is to reduce excessive sugar intake and support the Department of Health’s vision to decrease diabetes, obesity and other related diseases.
Which legislation governs SBL? Chapter VB of the Act, the rules relating to it under Section A of Part7 of Schedule No. 1 to Act.
What is Duty at Source (DAS)? Assessing and accounting for excisable products at source (i.e. as close as possible to the point of manufacture).
Which SBL is payable? Section A of Part 7 of Schedule No.1 to the Act. See Schedules to the Customs and Excise Act
When does SBL come into effect? 1 April 2018.
What is the SBL rate? The SBL rate on 1 April 2018 is fixed at 2.1 cent per gram of the sugar content that exceeds 4 grams per 100ml.
Who is liable for the levy? Importers and local manufacturers of goods specified in Section A of Part 7 of Schedule No. 1.
Who is exempted from paying the levy? Non-commercial manufacturers.
Who is classified as commercial manufacturers of sugary beverages? See Rule 54I.02.
Are alcoholic beverages included in paying the SBL? No
What is a test report? See rule 54I.06 (i)(aa)
How do I apply for a tariff determination? Please refer to the External Directive on Tariff Classification for more information: SC-CR-A-09 – Tariff Classification – External Policy
We note that in certain industries, e.g. alcohol industry, importers and/or manufacturers are required to obtain tariff determinations in respect of goods to be imported or manufactured.  For purposes of sugary beverages, will importers and/or manufacturers be required to obtain tariff determinations prior to 1 April 2018? Applications for tariff determinations are voluntary Any manufacturer or importer of any dutiable product, including SBL products, may apply for a tariff determination in respect of such product in terms of section 47(9) of the Customs and Excise Act, 1964.
It is understood that the test reports to be used for determining and declaring the sugar content of sugary beverages must be kept for a period of 5 years.  In this regard, we request clarity on how regularly test reports must be obtained in respect of the sugary beverages imported/manufactured.  A new test report would be required whenever there is any change in the product e.g. ingredients, composition or recipe.
The comments on the Draft Amendment Notices were due on/by 6 February 2018.  Please confirm when feedback will be provided on the comments submitted, and when the Draft rules and forms will be finalised The final legislation was published in the Government Gazette on 23 March 2018. Valid comments were incorporated in the legislation.
We manufacture powder products that contain added sugar and milk powder.
Is the levy only based on added sugar of the powder or does it include the total sugar content (including the Lactose in the milk powder)?
The SBL is based on total sugar content whether or not added. If you are in doubt that your product is taxable, apply for a tariff determination.
What makes up total sugar content of SBL products? The term “sugar” is defined in Rule 54.01(c)(v) and means intrinsic and added sugars and other sweeting matter.  
What constitutes a SBL beverage? The beverages subject to SBL products are listed in Section A of Part 7 of Schedule No. 1
In terms of SBL products which are in transit from before the implementation date: If the shipped on board date or bill of lading date is prior to 1 April 2018, will the levy still be applied to these products if the time of importation is after 1 April 2018? Imported SBL products become liable for SBL at the time of the import declaration.

Licensing and Registration

QUESTION                                                      ANSWER
What is the difference between licensing and registering? Persons classified as commercial manufacturers must register and licence whilst non-commercial manufacturers must register. See rule 54I.02.
Who needs to be licensed for SBL? Commercial manufacturers of SBL products. See definition of “commercial manufacturer” in the rules.
Do I need to pay a license fee? No
Do I need to provide a company stamped and signed copy of my factory/plant/premises when I apply for a license? Yes
Which other supporting documents do I need to supply along with my license application? Refer to the completion manual for the DA185: SE-LR-03-M01 – Completion of DA185 – External Manual
Where do I need to hand in or submit my licensing application pack? At your nearest Customs and Excise Branch Office.
What is a DA185? It is a Customs and Excise application form for licencing or registration, cancellation, amendment, renewal or new license.
What is a DA185.4B2? It is an annexure to DA185 form that is completed by applicants applying to be licensed for a manufacturing warehouse.
Where do I get the DA 185 and the Annexure? See the SBL webpage 
Who can sign a DA185? Refer to the completion manual for the DA185: SE-LR-03-M01 – Completion of DA185 – External Manual
Do I need to complete a company resolution and include it in my application? Yes when applicable.
Will SARS conduct an inspection before granting approval? Under normal circumstances, yes. However, for the initial implementation of SBL this may occur after the fact.
As what type of Customs and Excise Warehouse would my factory/plant /premises be licensed? A customs and excise manufacturing warehouse (VM).  
May I license second or third factory/plant/premises under my name in other areas of RSA (in other town or cities)? Yes
If I have multiple licensed Customs and Excise Warehouses for the manufacturing of sugary beverages spread across RSA; do I need to submit and make payment for all the warehouses on one single return or account to the SARS? You must submit a return/account per licensed warehouse. You may apply to the Commissioner of SARS to make a consolidated payment.  
Who can I contact to help me fulfil the SARS requirements regarding my licensed warehouse? Visit the nearest Customs and Excise Branch Office or call the SARS Contact Centre.
Should a “distribution centre” also be licensed with SARS Excise? No. Only premises where manufacturing of SBL goods will take place need to be licenced.
Am I allowed to send my manufactured sugary beverage to the “distribution centre” and pay the levy after I have sold the sugary beverage from the “distribution centre”? No. SBL is payable upon removal of SBL goods from the licensed manufacturing warehouse.
Will there be dedicated SARS officials/offices assisting with the registration and licensing of non-commercial/commercial manufacturers, and the relevant premises? Yes
If I have a “distribution centre” which official documents are needed to move my sugary beverage to this facility? SBL information must be appropriately reflected on the invoice or despatch delivery note from the licenced manufacturing warehouse.
Which manufacturers of sugary beverages need to register or to register and licence? Commercial SBL manufacturers must register and licence. Non-commercial SBL manufacturers register only.
The legislation provides for the licensing of customs and excise warehouses for the manufacture of sugary beverages, and for the storage of imported sugary beverages.  Why has no provision been made for the licensing and use of a storage warehouse for purposes of export? SBL will be administered on pure duty-at-source (DAS) principles.  SBL goods can be exported directly from a licenced manufacturing warehouse and may be subsequently set off against the SBL account of the licensee of such the manufacturing warehouse.


Which Part in Schedule No. 5 is applicable to refunds and drawbacks of SBL ​Part 6 of Schedule 5 to the Customs and Excise Act
Where must the drawback and refunds in terms of item 560.01 / 561.02 / 561.03 be submitted? ​The claims must be submitted as prescribed in the current Customs Refund and Drawback Policy (SC-DT-C-13 – Customs Refunds and drawbacks – External Policy)
Which forms must be used to submit refunds? ​DA 66 and DA 64 or DA 63 depending on the refund/drawback item requirement.
​When was the Customs refund/drawback forms for SBL published? ​The amended forms were published in the Government Gazette on 23 March 2018 and is available on the SARS website.
​What has been amended on the current DA 66, DA 64 and DA 63? ​The amended forms were published in Government Gazette on 23 March 2018 and is available on the SARS website.
​What forms will be required for the submission of refund item 561.03 claims? ​Forms DA 66 and DA 64.
​ What supporting documents need to be attached to prove the claim? ​Supporting documents are listed in an annexure to the relevant Customs Refunds and Drawback Policy.
​ Are there completion manuals available for the completion of the forms? ​Yes, Customs Completion manuals are available on the SARS website.
1. SC-DT-C-06: Completion of DA 66
2. SC-DT-C-08: Completion of DA 64
3. SC-DT-C-09: Completion of DA 63.
​When can the SBL be claimed? ​When the entity is entitled to a refund.
​What is the time period in which a claim can be submitted? ​Section 76B of the Act applies.
​Do I have to pay the levy up front if I export SBL to BLNS or other foreign countries? ​If the SBL goods have been manufactured locally and exported the SBL is accounted for and paid. Once there is proof of export a refund can be set-off against the SBL account.
​ Please advise imported beverages where the sugar levy was paid and then re-exported, what is the drawback process. ​Please see SC-DT-C-13 – Refunds and Drawbacks – External Policy
​Will I qualify as a third party exporter for a refund of SBL goods ​Yes, in terms of item 691.03.

Returns & Accounting

​ Who can assist me with the completion of my SBL return/account? ​Refer to the completion manual or contact the SARS Contact Centre on 0800 00 7277.
​ Who can help me if I experience difficulties with the SARS Excise levy system on eFiling? ​Contact the SARS Contact Centre on 0800 00 7277 or visit the nearest Customs and Excise Branch Office.
​Do I need to declare to SARS all the leviable sugary beverages I have sold? Yes
What is the process that I have to follow to do an import or export declaration? ​Refer to the completion manual or contact the SARS Contact Centre on 0800 00 7277.
​For how long must I keep these documents? ​Five years
​How often must a SBL account be submitted? ​Monthly. Refer to submission dates for the accounts.
How do I make payment of my SBL? ​Payments can be made via eFiling or electronic funds transfer (EFT).  Clients are advised to please ensure that payments are made well in advance in instances where their bank does not transfer direct payments immediately. Refer also to the External Standard on Payments (BP-02) BP-02 – Payments – External Standard.
​What happens when I submit my account without making payments? ​You will be subject to the applicable penalty and interest may be levied.
​What happens if I submit my return or account late? ​You will be subject to the applicable penalty and interest may be levied.
​Do I pay SBL on imported sugary beverages? ​Yes
​Can I also export my sugary beverages as I was doing in the past? ​Yes
​ Can I continue to use the normal invoices that I’ve used all along to conduct my sales to my clients? ​Draft rule 54I.01(b) applies rules 54F.01 to 54F.14 with any necessary changes as the context may require to SBL.

Rule 54F.05(a) applies broadly to invoices and dispatch delivery notes issued by the licensee of any customs and excise warehouse in respect of any SBL goods removed from such warehouse, including for export or removal to a BLNS country. The format of the invoice or dispatch delivery note is not prescribed, but the detailed information that must be included is specified.   

Rule 54F.05(a) applies to the licensee of a manufacturing warehouse for SBL goods. Retailers of SBL goods therefore do not need to meet these requirements. As far as the SBL manufacturer is concerned, rule 54F.05(a)(x) requires the inclusion on the invoice of any particulars necessary to determine the SBL rate and SBL amount of any SBL goods specified in such invoice.

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