APPLICATIONS FOR CHANGES IN CUSTOMS DUTIES
The following applications for changes in rates of customs duty were published in the past month. Interested parties must submit comments to ITAC within 4 (four) weeks of the date the notice was first published unless otherwise stipulated.
Government Gazette 41132– 2017.09.22
MAERSK PICK-UP FEE
Maersk Line has implemented a Johannesburg Container Pick UP Fee (PIC) of US $75 per 20' dry container for export containers shipped to the Far East and Oceana. This fee will be charged on all boxes shipped via South African ports from 1st October.
The line says that the additional fee is a part recovery of the costs of positioning 20' GP containers to the area, where demand for the units has increased beyond available supply. Affected vessels are the Seasmile v 1706 at Cape Town and the Maersk Tanjong v 1413 at Port Elizabeth and Durban.
PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR IMPORTS AND EXPORTS
Customs is responsible for ensuring compliance by both importers and exporters with all import and export regulations imposed by all Government Departments in South Africa. This mandate includes all permits and licenses such as import and export permits, veterinary and phytosanitary certificates, ICASA certifications and Letters of Authority issued by the NRCS to name just a few examples.
It is the responsibility of the importer/exporter or cargo owner to ensure that all necessary permits/licences/authorisations have been issued before shipment of such cargo commences: SARS can impose severe penalties on importers/exporters or owners if the necessary permits are not available at the time of clearance, which in some cases could include the confiscation and destruction of the cargo.
Importers have a legal responsibility to ensure that all goods received from foreign suppliers are declared to SARS. South Africa's Customs laws make it plain that importers must report to SARS the receipt of any additional invoices, debit or credit notes received in respect of shipments already cleared. The process for notifying SARS consists of lodging an amended clearance declaration ("Voucher of Correction") with SARS to reflect the full effect of any such these additional debits or credits.
And paying the additional taxes due.
Any importer finding undocumented cargo when unpacking an import consignment is legally responsible for obtaining the necessary invoices for the item(s) and amending their declaration to customs.
SARS is permitted to penalise importers who fail to comply with this requirement. The import of undocumented merchandise is smuggling and may attract substantial penalties. Where underpayments of customs duties are detected and reported to SARS voluntarily by an importer SARS usually waives the penalties. No such allowance is made where under-declarations are detected by SARS themselves.
The new Customs Control Act makes no provision for such leniency, although we believe that an aggrieved importer would be able to challenge any penalty raised against a voluntary disclosure through the ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) mechanism.
Conversely, importers who are able to document the short-supply of imported cargo are also entitled to adjust their declarations and to claim refunds of any taxes (excluding VAT) paid.
Clients must ensure that all additional debits or credits received from suppliers in respect of imported goods are included in the value declared to Customs, even if a considerable time has elapsed since the initial declaration was made.
DURBAN PORT DELAYS
Delays in moving containers through the port of Durban are likely to continue for the remainder of the year as cranes are taken out of service for routine maintenance/refit, new equipment installed and brought into use and construction/rehabilitation works continue. Clients should plan for extended transit times of up to 12 days in a "worst case" scenario.
DUPLICATE EXPORT DECLARATIONS
When a declaration is made to SARS on behalf of an exporter, that declaration must be honoured in full by that exporter and/or the exporter's cartage contractor.
Should a transporter decide to leave South Africa by a route or border post other than that declared to SARS, the contractor cannot simply pass an additional declaration at the second border post. This practice constitutes fraud, for which the exporter can be held wholly liable.
Changes to export declarations and vehicle manifests must be made and notified to SARS before the carrying vehicle arrives at the border post from which it will depart from South Africa. The same requirement also applies where any other details of the consignment change, such as quantity, value, type or number of packages.
Export declarations cannot be amended or cancelled once a transporting vehicle has left the country.
APPROVED EXPORTER STATUS
Exporters of South African manufactured products qualifying for preferential access to the European Union or the European Free Trade Association areas can bypass the somewhat cumbersome process for obtaining EUR.1 origin certificates from SARS for qualifying shipments by becoming Approved Exporters.
Under the Approved Exporter programme SARS verifies in advance which products qualify for preferential access to these markets and issues the exporter with a registration number entitling them to make own invoice declarations of origin that are acceptable to the customs authorities in the destination countries.
Traders wishing to become approved exporters must apply to SARS, be registered for communicating with SARS on the EDI platform and have a good record of tax and customs compliance.
This communication is published for general information and is not intended as professional advice of any kind. While every reasonable care has been taken to ensure the integrity and accuracy of the information contained herein, no liability or responsibility is accepted by Bidvest Panalpina Logistics or its employees for any damage or loss of any nature whatsoever resulting from the use or reliance upon this information.
© Bidvest Panalpina Logistics 2016.
All rights reserved. A Bidvest company and a member of the Panalpina global network.
Bidvest Panalpina Logistics is an Authorised Financial Services Provider.
To read our legal documents,
BPL Head Office address
20 Wrench Road
BPL contact details
Telephone: + 27 11 570 6000