What’s New Archive:
14 October 2022- Customs: Temporary solution for over carried cargo
In light of the Transnet strike and the increasing movement of over carried cargo, all shipping lines and traders need to be aware of the temporary solution for over carried cargo under the provisions of Section 40(3)(a)(i)(C) to the respective Branch Office where once processed a manual release will be provided to the declarant and allow for the movement and manual processing of the Vouchers of Correction when ships over carry cargo.
See the full letter here and see the previous letter of 20 July 2021 being referred to with the detail on the temporary solution here.
16 September 2022 – Customs cargo delays at Lebombo border post
SARS is aware of the current cargo delays at Lebombo border post. The delays are as a result of the implementation of the new Temporary Import Permit (TIP) payment system. Even though transporters were given sufficient notice to comply with the new requirements (e.g. cash not accepted anymore), measures are being implemented to speed up the process and engagements with Mozambique are being initiated to resolve the issues. Please note that no transporters without cashless activation should enter the N4 beyond last tollgate to avoid long standing times.
22 June 2022 – Discontinuation of General Codes – Extension
We previously advised that SARS, in consultation with the South African Express Parcel Association (SAEPA), the South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF), and the Air Cargo Operators’ Committee (ACOC), have agreed to discontinue the Non-Registered Cargo Reporter Code “ZZZ99999” from 1 June 2022, and the Ex Courier Code “000” from 20 June 2022.
SARS has received requests to allow an extension to give cargo reporters additional time to register, complete their systems development, and ensure that changes are made to their operational processes to accommodate these measures.
As SARS is committed to working with and through stakeholders to increase tax compliance, the expiry date in respect of both the above codes will be extended to 31 July 2022.
For more information, see our letter to Trade.
3 June 2022 – Charter and Passenger Cargo
Following further discussions with the South African Express Parcel
For more information, see our letter to Trade.
11 May 2022 – Discontinuation of General Codes
The ePenalty letter to Trade dated 29 April 2022 has reference. SARS, in consultation with the South African Express Parcel Association (SAEPA), the South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF), and the Air Cargo Operators’ Committee (ACOC), have agreed to discontinue the Non-Registered Cargo Reporter Code “ZZZ99999” from 1 June 2022, and the Ex Courier Code “000” from 20 June 2022.
For more information, see our letter to Trade.
29 April 2022 – Extension of ePenalty Pilot
1 April 2022 – Extension of the ePenalty deadline
24 February 2022 – On-boarding of existing Customs clients to the new Registration, Licensing and Accreditation (RLA) system
26 January 2022 – International Customs Day
Join us for International Customs Day. Customs administrations around the world and SARS will be celebrating International Customs Day on Wednesday, 26 January 2022. Join SARS here for a live discussion and virtual commemoration of International Customs Day.
4 January 2022 – Letter to Trade on the extension of ePenalty
The ePenalty pilot focussed on the submission of advance loading and arrival cargo reports for imported goods in the sea and air modalities, as well as on export goods in the rail modality. The purpose was to provide cargo reporters with specific details of potential non-compliance on cargo reporting for them to take remedial action before monetary penalties are imposed. Following the conclusion of the pilot, engagements with affected stakeholders highlighted the need to receive additional ePenalty compliance letters to aid in further identifying potential shortcomings in the reporting of cargo by trade.
SARS is committed to make it easy for traders to comply with their
26 November 2021 – Advance Payment Notification
As part of the Customs Modernisation Programme (CMP), authorised dealers in foreign exchange and currency, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) and SARS are collaborating to combat illicit financial flows and customs valuation fraud associated with the misuse of advance foreign exchange payments in respect of goods to be imported.
On 3 December 2021, SARS will be implementing a new functionality on its eFiling platform for importers to notify SARS of their intention to apply to an authorised dealer for an advance foreign exchange payment in respect of goods to be imported. For more information, see the letter to Trade.
22 November 2021 – Expiry date indicated on confirmation of registration on RLA system no longer applicable
The expiry date indicated on confirmation of registration on Registration Licensing and Accreditation (RLA) system no longer applicable, for more information click here.
11 November 2021 – Update and state of play of the AfCFTA
Preferential trade under the AfCFTA is not yet possible as the tariff schedules required are still being negotiated. Once an agreement is reached on the tariff schedules, they will be appended to Annex 1 to the AfCFTA for adoption by the AU Submit. See the letter to Trade.
11 October 2021 – Calculation of national currencies for the various trade agreements were published on the Rules of Origin webpage under Customs:
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.
30 September 2021 – Updated Customs Clearance Declarations
The acquittal process of bonded and transit goods has been enhanced. The information previously published in SC-TR-01-02 and SC-TR-01-03 has been inserted in SC-CF-54 and SC-CF-55 respectively, if it is still relevant to the new acquittal process.
Customs will, on a risk based approach, stop goods that are in bond or in transit through South Africa and request supporting documents. A Documentary Inspector will forward the case for a physical inspection. The case will then be conditionally released. Proof that the goods were exported from South Africa or has left the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) must be uploaded by the declarant to the case within thirty (30) days.
The completion of declaration manual (SC-CF-04) and its annexures have been re-numbered and is included as annexures in the external clearance declaration policy (SC-CF-55). The Facility Code List SC-CF-04-A08 has been renumbered as SC-CF-19-A02 and incorporated into the external registration, licensing and designation policy (SC-CF-19).
The printing of CN1 and CN2 at land-border posts are no longer part of the process.
The annexures are attached to external policies.
See the updated documents:
17 September 2021 – Implementation of Manual Case Creation (MCC) MobiApp for customs officers
10 September – Registration Licensing and Accreditation (RLA) update
On 10 September 2021, SARS will implement an additional enhancement to the Registration, Licensing and Accreditation (RLA) system. For more information, see our letter to Trade.
27 August 2021 – Pilot of Number Plate Recognition system
SARS will soon pilot a new Number Plate Recognition (NPR) system to eliminate the need for manifests and CN2 notices to be presented at the border for arrival and exit control measures. For more information, see our letter to Trade.
27 August 2021 – Pilot of ePenalty System
SARS has developed an ePenalty system under its Reporting of Conveyances and Goods (RCG) project to identify instances of noncompliance with prescribed reporting obligations and to penalise cargo reporters accordingly. For more information, see our letter to Trade.
17 August 2021 – Invitation to Customs SMME Traders and Travellers Webinar
Thus, SARS will provide Clarity and Certainty of taxpayer obligation to equip all with the relevant information and insight required to make it easy to meet tax and customs obligations.
As you are important stakeholders, we invite you to join us in this webinar and to extend this invitation to other interested parties.
The details of the event are as follows:
Theme: Customs and Cargo clearance procedures
23 July 2021 – Customs RCTF Master plan and Design Houses requirements
The RCTF Master plan and Design Houses requirements letter clarifies with regards to the Design House procedures related to movements to Cut, Make and Trim companies (CMT) and the registration and licensing requirements, including the requirements for provisional payments.
23 July 2021 – Customs Contingency Plan to Facilitate Trade and to Support Transnet
An interim measure to ensure release of import and export cargo from and to TNPA and TPT has been implemented by SARS and Transnet SOC Ltd with effect 23 July 2021.
The Customs Branch offices will print hard copy releases and physically stamp the documents together with the SAD 500’s.
Requests for such reprints will be made via the existing dedicated mailboxes below:
Cargo owners will then present this stamped document when requesting release of the cargo or entry to the export stacks. This hard copy document will also be used by Transnet as a control against unlawful delivery of cargo to a road haulier not licensed/ authorised to collect the said cargo or to deliver the cargo to the export stacks. In addition, this stamped document will be used to assess and collect cargo dues.
Transnet SOC Ltd has assured SARS that no shipments will be released or enter the export stacks without the verification and upon instruction of SARS that an existing, valid SARS Customs release notification has been issued for the said consignment.
Transnet will notify Customs immediately of any attempts to obtain release of cargo in contravention of the Customs and Excise Act 91 of 1964.
In addition, Customs will increase the numbers of patrols and gate checks at the harbours. Increased port control will enhance enforcement interventions so as to identify and deal with any trends of non-compliance that may become prevalent.
20 July 2021 – Temporary solution for over carried cargo
It has been noted that the withdrawal of the DA 31 for over carried cargo has left a void in the treatment of over carried cargo. SARS further acknowledges that the temporary solution that was put in place regarding the usage of the DA 6 until a more permanent viable solution is provided may not be a legally viable solution and the incorrect usage of the DA 6 as it was not intended for the purpose of over carried cargo.
Clients are advised that the newly approved interim procedure for over carried cargo will be to submit a manual voucher of correction (VOC) under the provisions of Section 40(3)(a)(i)(C) to the respective Branch Office where once processed a manual release will be provided to the declarant. See the signed letter here.
20 April 2021 – Find useful information on the tax obligations relating to Small, Micro, and Medium Enterprises (SMMEs):
I would like to thank all our Deferment Account holders who acted in accordance with our request to make the necessary payments by end of business on 31 March 2021.
24 March 2021 – Letter to trade – 13th Deferment payment at the end of the 2020/21 financial year
This letter serves as a reminder to all Customs clients who are deferment account holders to kindly adhere to the 13th deferment payment requirements, which becomes due by end of the financial year, 31 March 2021.
11 February 2021 – Letter to trade – Closure of Groblersbridge Border Post
10 February 2021 – 13th Deferment payment at the end of the 2020/21 financial year
12 January 2021 – AfCFTA agreement implementation stakeholder engagement information
4 January 2021 – The Agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was published effective from 1 January 2021 as per Notice R1433 in Government Gazette 44049 of 31 December 2020
30 December 2020 – Updated Travellers’ leaflet
16 November 2020 – Directive relating to the release of Clothing, Textile, Footwear and Leather (CTFL) goods
The South African Revenue Service (SARS), in partnership with other government
12 November 2020 – Update: Letter to trade, issued on 9 November 2020 – Discontinuation of CN2 at Beitbridge border post
30 September 2020 – Opening of ports of entry for international movement of persons and goods
The National Border Management Coordinating Committee issued a directive on 28 September 2020 to all its Ports of Entry Managers. The directive related to the announcement by the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, on 16 September 2020, that travel into and out of South Africa for business, leisure and other purposes will be allowed with effect from 1 October 2020.
The directive stated that the movement of people through the ports must be subject to the protocols as guided by the relevant regulations.
28 September 2020 – Enforcement of Section 64D – Bonded Goods to be in sealed containers
4 September 2020 – Escalation procedures for Customs matters
13 July 2020 – National classification list of COVID-19 medical supplies
30 June 2020 – Escalation procedures for Customs matters
25 June 2020 – ITAC Amended Guidelines for Rebate Item 412.11(a)
Due date for comment: 29 June 2020
Please forward comments electronically to the following official, using
12 June 2020 – Rule amendment notice R670 in GG 43435 under sections 19A, 54AA, 105 and 120
4 June 2020 –Notice of Expiration of VAT Certificate issued in terms of Schedule 1(8) of the Value-Added Tax Act, 89 of 1991, Item 412.11/00.00/01.00
29 May 2020 – ITAC reminder on rebate certificates’ expiry date
20 May 2020 – Second Draft Disaster Management Tax Relief and Relief Administration Bill
The 3rd revised 2020 Draft Disaster Management Tax Relief Bill and 2020 Draft Disaster Management Tax Relief Administration Bill, as well as the Notice on Expanding Access to Living Annuity Funds, will be published by the end of May to take into account all public comments received on the revised COVID-19 Draft Tax Bills published on 1 May 2020. They provide the necessary legislative amendments required to implement the tax measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
12 May 2020 – Reporting of Conveyances and Goods – External Policy
The Reporting of Conveyances and Goods policy has been updated to clarify that exemptions granted in respect of cargo reports apply to advance container loading notices, advance cargo arrival notices (imports), departure reports (exports) as well as acquitted manifests.
8 May 2020 –ITAC VAT Rebate 412.11 List of CRITICAL MEDICAL SUPPLIES re COVID-19 (Version 3 – 6 May 2020)
8 May 2020 – Update on 412.11 and 621.08
7 May 2020 – Request for Duty Payment Relief
6 May 2020 – SARS VAT 412.11 Mapping of ESSENTIAL GOODS re COVID-19 – 6 May 2020
4 May 2020 –Publication of Notice, Regulation and ITAC VAT Rebate Item 412.11 Updated list of CRITICAL MEDICAL SUPPLIES
Notice 487 in Government Gazette No. 43266 of 4 May 2020: Direction by the Minister of Finance in terms of the Regulations (R.480 in Government Gazette No. 43258 of 29 April 2020) issued by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs – section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act, 2002, relating to essential financial services
1 May 2020 – Revised COVID-19 Draft Tax Bills and Draft rule amendments
National Treasury and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) publish, for public comment, the revised 2020 Draft Disaster Management Tax Relief Bill and 2020 Draft Disaster Management Tax Relief Administration Bill. These Bills give effect to the media statement issued by National Treasury on 24 April 2020 regarding further tax measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, following the address by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 21 April 2020. The revised 2020 Draft Disaster Management Tax Relief Bill and the 2020 Draft Disaster Management Tax Relief Administration Bill provide the necessary legislative amendments required to implement the further tax measures aimed at combating the COVID-19 pandemic and also take into account public comments received on the initial batch of COVID-19 draft tax bills published on 1 April 2020.
24 April 2020 – Update to the 9 April post of what other countries are doing during the COVID 19 Pandemic (Eswatini and Lesotho)
22 April 2020 – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) relating to essential goods, clearance and movement of goods, and services rendered by Customs under the COVID-19 lockdown
19 April 2020 – Update: Customs measures relating to COVID-19 – Impact on Customs of new Government regulations
17 April 2020 – Requests for duty deferment payment relief
17 April 2020 – Updated Letter to Trade: Update on the new Registration, Licensing and Accreditation (RLA) system
14 April 2020 – Application of Origin proof requirement during the COVID-19 crisis under the SADC-EU-EPA
South Africa and the European Commission has relaxed the requirement to insist on the presentation or submission of original certificates of origin to prove the originating status of goods at the time of clearance. Instead, copies or electronic versions of proof of origin will be accepted in an attempt to curb the spread of the COVID-19. In South Africa, the relaxation of the rules is subject to the submission of the original certificates within 12 months after being issued in the European Union (EU). While Article 26 to Protocol I of the SADC-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) requires the submission of an original proof of origin within ten (10) months, SARS will honour or accept copies or electronic versions of certificates of origin while awaiting the submission of the original versions within twelve (12) months after being issued in the EU.
Traders are encouraged to register for the generous Approved Exporter Scheme, within the meaning of Article 25 to Protocol I of the SADC-EU EPA, which allows an Origin Declaration to be presented in the importing country no longer than two (2) years after the importation of the products to which it relates. Kindly direct all enquiries in relation to this matter to Mr Alfred Ramoroka at [email protected].
9 April 2020 – Goods qualifying for import VAT exemption under item 412.11 – COVID-19 measures (Updated the 3 April message on 9 April 2020 to reflect additional exclusion communicated by ITAC, with effect from 8 April 2020)
SARS wishes to clarify that “essential goods” as defined in Regulation R.398 in Government Gazette No 43148 of 25 March 2020, other than the goods mentioned below, are exempt from VAT on importation under item 412.11/00.00/01.00 to Schedule 1 of the Value-Added Tax Act, 1991, read with section 13(3) of that Act.
Goods that are not exempt from VAT on importation are goods that the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) has indicated are: 1) dutiable (and no ITAC certificate under item 412.11 of Schedule No. 4 of the Customs and Excise Act, 1964, has been issued);
2) subject to the duties referred to in 1) but are entering South Africa duty free because of a preferential trade agreement or other agreement, such as a customs union;
3) the subject of applications for duty support that are currently pending before ITAC; and
4) manufactured by domestic industry and ITAC has determined such industry is being or is likely to be injured by imports.
Goods excluded from the import VAT exemption under 1) are those goods that are subject to an ordinary customs duty, as set out in Schedule No. 1, or trade remedies (anti-dumping, countervailing or safeguard duty), as set out in Schedule No. 2 to the Customs and Excise Act, 1964. Goods excluded under 2) are also set out in these Schedules. A list of goods excluded under 3) and 4) is available in the relevant ITAC certificate. Click here for the ITAC import VAT certificate dated 30 March 2020. Click here for the ITAC import VAT certificate dated 8 April 2020.
Goods that qualify for VAT exemption and are not dutiable fall under the certificate issued by ITAC in this regard and no individual applications need be submitted to SARS or ITAC.
Importation will follow the normal procedure described in the external policy SC-CF-55 – Clearance declaration external policy. The VAT exemption is only valid for direct importations and not to be cleared into bond or warehousing. CPC A 14 must be used for importations from outside SACU and CPC A 12 for importations from the BLNS, with measure 412.11/00.00/01.00.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, SARS Customs has also set up a command centre to deal with escalations that may have not been dealt with at branch level. Your existing call reference number, transaction (SSM/LRN) can then be sent to [email protected]. To save duplication and time, clients are reminded that queries must be sent to the relevant branch/processing centre.
Please note that the VAT treatment of the local supply of goods by an importer or any other vendor is unaffected by the import VAT exemption. The normal provisions of the Value-Added Tax Act, 1991, apply.
9 April 2020 – SADC Guidelines on Harmonisation and Facilitation of Cross Border Transport Operations across the Region During the COVID-19 Pandemic (Updated on 15 April with neighbouring countries details)
Domestic, interstate and international travel have proven to be one of the main ways the COVID-19 virus is spreading among communities, nations and globally. There is therefore a need to limit travelling and freight movements to the absolutely essential only.
9 April 2020 – Notice No. R.458 in Government Gazette No. 43222
Rule amendment to substitute Rule 24.03 to provide for the exemption of foreign-going ships or aircraft from the payment of duty on stores consumed on such ships in any port in the Republic, or on an aircraft on a flight between any places in the Republic for the duration of the national state of disaster. With retrospective effect from 23 March 2020.
3 April 2020 – Goods qualifying for a full rebate of customs duty and import VAT exemption under 412.11 – COVID-19 measures Importation of supplies critical to the national state of disaster necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic can be done free of duty and VAT into South Africa. Importers are required to apply to ITAC for a certificate to use that qualifies them to import under rebate item 412.11. Qualifying products referred to as “critical supplies” are listed on the ITAC website, as is the application form and the SOP. The importation of these goods will follow the normal Customs procedure described in the external policy SC-CF-55. The rebate item is only valid for direct importations and no bonded or warehouse clearances will be permitted under this rebate item. CPC A 14 must be used for importations from outside SACU and CPC A 12 for importations from the BLNS, with measure 412.11/00.00/01.00. If requested to provide supporting documents to Customs, the client would need to upload the certificate issued to the importer by ITAC, along with the standard set of supporting documents to substantiate the import declaration. During the COVID-19 pandemic, SARS Customs has also set up a command centre to deal with escalations that may have not been dealt with at branch level. Your existing call reference number, transaction (SSM/LRN) can then be sent to [email protected]. To save duplication and time, clients are reminded that queries must be sent to the relevant branch/processing centre.
3 April 2020 – Treatment of timeframes during period of national lockdown
2 April 2020 – COVID-19 Export Control Regulation
SARS has been requested by the Department of Trade and Industry to add the listed goods to its prohibited and restricted list (P&R list) for purposes of export control. It is not a ban. Traders may apply to the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) for an export permit, and if granted the goods may be exported. See the Notice R.429 for more information.
2 April 2020 – Processing of Rules of Origin certificates during lockdown
Customs clients submitting Certificates of origin, including: Form A, EUR1, SADC, MERCOSUR and AGOA, will continue to do so at their local branch as per communique dated 26 March 2020 (using an appointment process). However, clients in Durban and Cape Town are advised that Certificates of origin will only be processed during the lockdown period on the following days: Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A skeleton staff complement will be deployed to these two Customs hubs to assist on the abovementioned days for limited hours. Please note that receipt and collection of the certificates is to be done between 08:00 and 12:00 on those three days only.
The hubs are situated at:
1 April 2020 – Draft Disaster Management Tax Relief and Relief Administration Bill
Following the media statement issued by the Minister of Finance on 29 March 2020 on Tax Measures to Combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Treasury and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) today publish, for public comment, the 2020 Draft Disaster Management Tax Relief Bill and the 2020 Draft Disaster Management Tax Relief Administration Bill. These draft Bills provide the necessary legislative amendments required to implement the COVID-19 tax measures. The measures contained in these draft Bills will take effect on 1 April 2020:
27 March 2020 – Clarity relating to processing of cargo and travellers during national lockdown period
27 March 2020 – VAT exemption for essential goods on importation (29 March – Updated to reflect scope of customs duty rebate and 3 April – Updated with contact details)
Due to the measures put in place under the Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002, “essential goods” as defined in Regulation R.398 in Government Gazette No. 43148 of 25 March 2020 will be subject to a VAT exemption on importation during the COVID-19 pandemic, under Item 412.11/00.00/01.00 of Schedule 1 to the Value Added Tax Act 89 of 1991. A full rebate of customs duty under rebate item 412.11 of Schedule No. 4 to the Customs and Excise Act 91 of 1964 is available where ITAC has approved the rebate for the goods concerned. Visit the ITAC website for information relating to the full rebate of customs duty under Covid-19 Rebate Item 412.11 Queries specific to classification may be addressed to Selloane Molebatsi at [email protected] and [email protected].
26 March 2020 – Timeframe for the export of goods by vendors and qualifying purchasers affected by COVID-19
26 March 2020 – Rebate Item 621.08 – Special conditions for certain recipients of partially or undenatured ethyl alcohol
26 March 2020 – Arrangements for Customs services during lockdown and Customs Branch Managers contact details
26 March 2020 – Limitation of refunds and drawbacks received by the Controller in terms of Section 76b which falls within the period 27 March 2020 to 16 April 2020
25 March 2020 – Letter to Trade on the impact of COVID-19
25 March 2020 – 12-13th Deferments Payment at the end of the financial year 2019-2020
20 March 2020 – Registration of Cargo reporter This week SARS announced that it is taking measures to ensure the safety of its staff and clients, including encouraging social distancing and limiting the number of people visiting SARS offices. As a result, if Customs clients wish to register as a cargo reporter, instead of couriering their registration documents or handing them in at SARS head office in Pretoria, they are asked to scan them and mail them to [email protected]. For queries, you can call 012-422 8388.
17 March 2020 – Letter to Trade – Impact of Corona virus on Trade and the list of closed ports.
12 March 2020 – Update on Registration, Licensing and Accreditation (RLA)
4 March 2020 – The new Registration, Licensing and Accreditation (RLA) system will go live on eFiling and in Customs branches from 20 April 2020. Watch this space for more information.
3 March 2020 – PT/AEO update
20 February 2020 – 13th Deferment payment at the end of the Financial year 2019/2020
19 August 2020 – Payment deferment extension periods: Excise Duty
23 June 2020 – Rules under Sections 107A and 110 of the Customs & Excise Act of 1964: Lenient approach in respect of enforcement actions
12 June 2020 – Rule amendment notice R670 in GG 43435 under sections 19A, 54AA, 105 and 120
25 May 2020 – Tobacco leaf dealers and product counters
24 April 2020 – Tax Relief measures: Three-month deferral for filing and first payment of carbon tax
31 March 2020 – SARS has published a streamlined temporary registration process for traders to register as rebate users in the manufacturing of disinfectants for the duration of the national state of disaster.For more information, see the SARS letter COVID-19 communication – clarity regarding the use of ethyl alcohol in the manufacturing of hand sanitisers. The process is documented in the Government Gazette No. 43156 No. R.411.
17 October 2019 – The Carbon Tax webpage was published.
12 February 2019 – Excise duty and levy submission and payment dates for