What’s New at SARS

Legal Counsel – Secondary Legislation – Rule Amendments 2022

17 June 2022 – Customs & Excise Act, 1964: Rule amendment notice R2172, as published in Government Gazette 46553 on 17 June 2022, relates to the amendments to rules under sections  59A.01A  and 120 relating to submission of registration applications by the two types of electronic users (DAR233)

eFiling downtime alert

17 June 2022 – Due to ongoing maintenance, eFiling may not be available on Sunday, 19 June 2022, between 7:00 and 7:30 in the morning. Our apologies for the inconvenience.

Media Release – SARS media statement

15 June 2022- SARS has noted the recent allegation made in the press and social media that the Commissioner for SARS is a director of a company owned by President Ramaphosa. It is insinuated that SARS has therefore remained silent about the tax matters of President Ramaphosa. It is further alleged that the Commissioner received a call from President Ramaphosa to assist and, according to a source, the Commissioner denied the request.

Read the full statement here.

Legal Counsel – Secondary Legislation – Tariff Amendments 2022

15 June 2022 – Customs & Excise Act, 1962: The tariff amendment notices, scheduled for publication in the Government Gazette, relate to the amendments to –

  • Part 1 of Schedule No. 1 to correct some minor errors that occurred during HS 2022 implementation (with retrospective effect from 1 January 2021);
  • Part 1 of Schedule No. 1 by the substitution of certain Notes and insertions of new 8-digit tariff subheadings under several Chapters in Part 1 of Schedule No. 1 to implement technical and other miscellaneous amendments;
  • Part 2B of Schedule No. 1 by the substitution of the descriptions of item number 124.05/8415.10, to align the header description with the header description of subheading 8415.10 as it appears in Schedule No. 1 Part 1;
  • Part 3E of Schedule No. 1 by the deletion of environmental levy item 153.01.09/8701.30 and substitution of several items;
  • Part 1 of Schedule No. 3 by the insertion and deletion of rebate item 320.04/5512.19.90/01.08 and 320.04/5512.19/01.06, respectively;
  • Schedule No. 5 by the substitution of Note 13 in order to delete the reference to “refund of the customs duty specified in refund item 533.00” as refund item 533.00 has been deleted and the reference to this item has become redundant;
  • Part 1B of Schedule No. 6 by the substitution of the wording “under customs supervision” wherever it appears with “under the supervision of an officer”;
  • Part 1C of Schedule No. 6 by the substitution of the wording “under customs supervision” wherever it appears with “under the supervision of an officer”; and
  • Part 3 of Schedule No. 6 in order to correct typographical errors to the Diesel Refund Notes published in the Government Gazette on 18 March 2022.

Publication details will be made available later

SARS Paarl branch reopened

15 June 2022 – The Paarl branch reopened today, 15 June 2022. Our apologies for any inconvenience.

Customs – Registration Licensing and Designation

15 June 2022 – Update document: Registration Licensing and Designation – External Policy

The reference to SC-CF-23 has been removed since the manual has been withdrawn and SC-CF-19-A02 has been updated to insert the following two (2) facilities licensed:

  • V5 – Senator International Logistics (Pty) Ltd
  • AF – Trans-Med Shipping (Pty) ltd.

The facility N6 for SG Agility (Pty) Ltd has been deleted since the facility has been cancelled.

Legal Counsel – Legal Advisory – Interpretation Notes – IN 121 – 140

13 June 2022 – Income Tax Act, 1962

Interpretation Note 121 – Deduction of medical lump sum payments

Media Release – SARS sews victory protecting the textile industry

10 June 2022 – The South African Revenue Service welcomes the unanimous judgment of the Supreme Court of Appeal (“the SCA”) which has affirmed its procedure and right to seize goods which have been under-declared when crossing South Africa’s borders.

In the case of The Commissioner of South African Revenue Services and Others v Dragon Freight (Pty) Ltd and Others dated 7 June 2022, the SCA pronounced on the exercise of SARS’ mandate in terms of the Customs and Excise Act. In this matter a review application was launched in respect of SARS’ decision to seize, in terms of section 88(1)(c) of the Customs and Excise Act, 19 of 1964 (“the Customs Act”) 19 containers imported from China which had been under-declared for customs duties on import. These containers contained textiles and clothing goods, which were flagged by SARS’ electronic risk engine, designed to counter fraud and illegal activities, which was further investigated by Customs staff.

Argument in the SCA from the Respondents was that SARS’ decision ought to be set aside on the grounds of “procedural unfairness, irrationality and unreasonableness”. The SCA wholly rejected this argument, overturned the High Court’s prior decision in favour of the agent and traders and issued a cost order in favour of SARS. The SCA ruled that SARS had acted within its mandated scope, that SARS had acted procedurally fairly and that SARS had acted on evidence gathered.

The importation of clothing and textiles (“CTFL”) has been steadily increasing since the dawn of democracy due to the availability of cheap manufactured goods outside of South Africa. In recent years, there has been widespread speculations about illegally imported clothing and textile goods in South Africa.

This case is an important reflection that SARS performs its functions for the benefit of South Africa and her people and is a reminder that SARS is an integral component in the economy. The judgment confirms that SARS is dedicated to enforcing its mandate to control the importation of certain goods to support and promote the macro-economic policy objectives of the Government.

SARS is firmly committed to service excellence and this includes not being deterred by aggressive litigation that undermines the fiscal and economic fabric of the country.

SARS is dedicated to its mandate to combat tax evasion and affirms its warning to non-compliant traders and clearing agents to desist from the practice of false declarations in attempts to defraud the state of what is due to the fiscus. 

The impact of illicit activities on imports includes under-invoicing resulting in lower revenue to the fiscus given that not all customs duties and value added tax (VAT) due to the government are paid, and trade mis-invoicing involving.

SARS Commissioner Mr Edward Kieswetter expressed his satisfaction with is important decision. He said, “There are concerted attempts by those engaged in these illicit activities to circumvent the support put in place by government for local industries thereby eroding productive capacity in the country with accompanying job losses, particularly in the local manufacturing sector. This limits the country’s potential to grow and create jobs, and leads to unfair competition for legitimate trade”.

In conclusion, he said, “SARS is continually refining its capacity to detect this non-compliant behaviour, and will do all in its power to make it costly to non-compliant taxpayers, while facilitating legitimate trade”.

Finally, the Commissioner thanked the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, the textile and clothing industry and the Trade Union in the sector for their valuable contribution in this success.

For further information, please contact [email protected]

Legal Counsel – Secondary Legislation – Tariff Amendments 2022

9 June 2022 – Customs & Excise Act, 1964: The tariff amendment notice, scheduled for publication in the Government Gazette, relates to the amendments to –

  • Part 1 of Schedule No. 2 by the deletion of item 205.01/2523.29/02.06 and substitution of items 205.01/2523.29/01.06 and 205.01/2523.29/05.06 in order to impose anti-dumping duty on Portland cement originating in or imported from Pakistan – ITAC Report 673.

Publication details will be made available later

Media Release – SARS seizes 11 falsely declared containers

8 June 2022 – The South African Revenue Service (SARS) through its Customs & Excise National Rapid Response Team seized eleven (11) falsely declared consignments made up of clothing that were presented as shoes with a total prejudice to the fiscus to the value of R 3-million.

The Customs team physically examined and inspected the 11 containers and the accompanying documents, and found the consignment to be false declarations by two importers. The importers in their declarations to SARS falsely declared them as shoes.

A case of fraud against the importers was registered with the South African Police Service, which is undertaking a further and joint investigation with SARS.

SARS wishes to reiterate its warning to the non-compliant traders and clearing agents to desist from the practice of false declarations and an attempt to defraud the state of what is due to the fiscus.

SARS Commissioner Mr Edward Kieswetter, praised the efforts of the Customs officers. He said, “The message to non-compliant traders and clearing agencies must be unequivocal, that in line with our strategic objectives, SARS has and continues to strengthen its detection capacity. It will make it hard and costly for those taxpayers that are wilfully and criminally engaging in non-compliant behaviour.”

For media enquiries, please contact [email protected]

Media Release – SARS and DTIC donate tonnes of seized clothing, blankets and footwear to flood victims

8 June 2022 – SARS and the Department of Trade Industry and Competition (DTIC) have joined forces to donate tonnes of seized clothing, blankets and footwear to flood victims in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), Eastern Cape, North West, and the Free State provinces.

The initiative, named Project Sizani (We all Help), took shape after the declaration of a state of disaster by Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa in response to the recent heavy rains and flooding in the Eastern Cape, North West, Free State and Kwa-Zulu Natal provinces.

SARS conceived of the idea of making seized clothing, blankets and footwear available, which are strictly regulated by the Customs Act, Act 91 of 1964, administered by SARS, and the Counterfeit Goods Act, administered by the Dtic, as well as a 2009 and 2020 NEDLAC agreement, stipulating that seized goods must be destroyed so as to avoid disruption to the South African market.

It is important to note that SARS, by itself, is not in a position to conduct an operation of this magnitude from a legislative or operational perspective. A raft of engagements and approvals by various key government and other external stakeholders, as well as their direct involvement, were required to make it happen.

This included a “once-off deviation” from the NEDLAC agreement, as agreed upon during a meeting with key stakeholders in the Clothing Textile Footwear and Leather Industry (CTFL) to enable the donation of specific CTFL goods that have been seized and forfeited to SARS to the victims of the severe weather events of April 2022. 

See the full media statement here.

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