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Customs duties and VAT are payable in accordance with  Section 39(1)(b) at the time of importation. Existing registered or licensed Customs clients may apply to defer the payment of Customs duty and VAT for a period of up to thirty (30) days and up to a maximum amount of duty. No duties and levies on locally manufactured goods may be deferred onto an approved deferment account.  

Deferment is not a client type, it is a facility granted to existing registered or licensed Customs clients to defer payment of duty for a period and up to a maximum amount of duty. The registrant or licensee must complete the DA 650 and DA 652 to apply for the deferment facility.   The applicant must indicate the total limit required in duty and VAT. The amount of surety to be provided will be determined by Customs (see Bonds external standard) before the facility is granted.  

Any application for amendment of dates, or an increase, or decrease of deferment limits, requires a new bond to be completed and approved accordingly (see Bonds external standard).   SARS will not allow registered or licensed clients to partake in this facility if they have overdue debt(s). The Deferment External Standard encapsulates the deferment requirements and processing of Customs duties and VAT.

How to participate?

Existing registered or licensed Customs clients must apply for a deferment facility in terms of the provisions of Section 59A . The application form that must be completed is a DA 650 – Application for Deferment and it must be submitted either to a Customs Office or forwarded to National Registration and Licensing Team in Alberton. You can also refer to Registration, Licensing and Designation external policy and Deferment External Standard.   The applicant will be requested to provide a surety in order to protect the State from any loss likely to be incurred as a result of the deferment activity. The amount of security will be determined in terms of standards and assessed on an individual basis in terms of the criteria established, see:

  Once the deferment account period closes, the system generates a Customs Statement of Account (CSA).  An additional seven (7) calendar days are currently allowed to a deferment account holder for reconciliation of his / her CSA.  This date is known as the agreed payment date and may differ from one (1) client to another.  If the account holder of the deferment account is in agreement with the CSA issued, he / she must settle his / her deferment account on the agreed payment date to avoid any penalties and / or interest charges on amount outstanding.   It is the responsibility of the deferment account holder to monitor his / her account and ensure that all the transactions on his / her deferment account are correct prior to the closure of his / her account or the issuing of the Customs Statement of Account (CSA).   

If any transaction must be amended due to incorrect information on a Customs declaration processes during his / her deferment account period, the account holder must submit the necessary amendments to Customs prior to the closure of his / her deferment account, see Completion of Declarations external manual.   When the deferment account holder exceeds the deferment limit in any deferment account period, the account holder of the deferment account will not be able to defer any more duties or VAT during the period unless the account holder either settles his / her deferment account or makes partial payments on the deferment account during such period.  

If the account holder exceeds his / her deferment limit all further duties or VAT will be changed to cash payment and the account holder will be required to make payment via eFiling, EFT or by any alternative Customs payment method in the event that eFiling is not available, until such a time the deferment account holder either increases the deferment limit or settles the deferment account in full or in part.   If the date falls on a public holiday or weekend, payment must occur on the last working day before this date.   For assistance on how to manage and pay the deferment account refer to Payments external standard.  

Refunds due to a client will be offset against the account holder of the deferment account if the deferment account is in arrears.  This will only be applicable where it is the importer’s own deferment account. For more information on the process, you can refer to the Refunds and Drawback External Standard.

The Customs Statement of Account (CSA)

At the end of the deferment account period; the CSA will be available on eFiling and if eFiling is not available the account holder may contact the SARS Contact Centre.   The deferment account holder must ensure that:

  • His / her deferment accounts are accurate and complete;
  • Any unallocated credits are resolved prior to the statement period end date; and
  • Any outstanding debt is settled within the defined payment terms.

Deferment account holders must have access to eFiling to view the CSA.  Where eFiling is not available, the Branch Office or Customs Compliance Centre (CCC) will assist the client by obtaining the CSA or transaction information from the system.

Top tip: Refer to Customs eAccount on eFiling External Manual. 

Which forms?

Payment must be done through eFiling and if eFiling is not possible, alternative arrangements must be agreed to; you can refer to Payments external guide for more information. 

How long can payments be deferred for?

Payments can be deferred for a period of up to thirty (30) days. At the conclusion of the period of deferment, the client is allowed a further seven (7) days in order to settle the account.  

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