International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund Levy

What is the IOPCF levy?

South Africa is a signatory to the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage of 1992 (the Civil Liability Convention) as well as the Fund Convention of 1992 (the Fund Convention). Together these conventions govern the liability of ship owners for oil pollution damage, create a system of compulsory liability insurance, and establish the IOPCF which provides compensation for victims who do not obtain full compensation under the Civil Liability Convention.

Under the IOPCF rules importers of oil into a member country are responsible to contribute to the IOPCF directly. Member states are not responsible for these contributions unless they voluntarily accept responsibility. South Africa decided to accept responsibility to make contributory payments to the IOPCF, and in doing so become one of only three member countries (the others being Canada and Israel) to have done so.

South Africa recently incorporated these conventions into its domestic law, and to enable South Africa to collect the IOPCF levy, the following two Acts were enacted into law and came into operation with effect from 1 May 2014:

Who should pay it?

The IOPCF levy is to be paid by all persons who receive by sea “contributing oil” (basically crude and heavy fuel oil) in excess of 150,000 metric tonnes per annum in South Africa, or landed by sea in a non-member country and transported by other means to South Africa.

When and how much should be paid?

The rate per metric tonne (based on the IOPCF rate) and the date it is required to be paid by, are announced annually. SARS will, based on the quantity of oil received by a person and the rate announced, issue assessments stating the amount to be paid and by when.

What steps should I take?

Persons who need to pay this levy will need to:
  • Register with SARS. The client must complete a DA185 Licensing and Registration application for Customs and Excise with the relevant Supporting documents and submit it  to a Customs or Excise Branch Office;
  • Submit returns in accordance with the Public Notice issued by the Commissioner on 27 February 2015 (Notice 169 in GG 38506) stating the quantity and type of contributing oil received (to be delivered to the SARS Excise office where the excise account is held) as follows:
    • For the period from 1 May to 31 December 2014 – to be submitted by 31 March 2015; and
    • For the period from 1 January to 31 December of 2015 and any subsequent year – to be submitted by 31 January of the next year.
  • Keep supporting documentation, including import declarations for customs purposes & records and books of account;
  • Once the figures have been consolidated and verified for each client, an assessment will be raised on the CEB01 and sent to each client. The CEB01 is only available via eFiling or at a SARS branch. The assessment will have the amount due and the Payment Reference Number (PRN) and you can then follow the eFiling payment procedure using the PRN.
  • The process to pay the IOPCF levy via SARS eFiling is:

Step 1

Logon to

Step 2

Select RETURNS on the main ribbon:
Screen capture of main ribbon with Returns selected

Step 3

 Navigate to 'Additional Payment – Create Additional Payment' in the left hand menu and select: Screen capture of the left hand menu with Additional Payments selected

Step 4

On the next landing page use the dropdown list to select the Tax Type 'Oil Pollution Tax (OPT)':
Screen capture of Dropdown with Oil Pollution Tax (OPT) selected

Step 5

In addition to the above also insert the Taxpayer Name, Payment Reference Number (PRN) and Amount. Note that the first 10 characters of the PRN will be populated. Only the last 9 characters of the PRN must be captured to display the full PRN as per the assessment letter.

Step 6

On the same landing page select “Make Payment” button where after the amount to be paid must be confirmed and the Payment Detail must be selected and confirmed:
Screencapture of Make Payment Button

Step 7

Note the authorisation of the payment to be released need to be performed.

Step 8

Once the payment on SARS eFiling has been processed, the release of the payment to SARS still needs to be authorised.

For more detail on the payment process, click here.

Any queries?

General queries regarding the IOPCF can be directed to [email protected].

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