9. Why is release in terms of the CCA granted only upon arrival of the goods?

The customs authority cannot release goods that have not physically arrived at a place of entry of entry or exit.

10. What is meant by the tax status of goods?

The tax status of goods is either tax due or tax free. A tax due status indicates that tax will be payable on goods if tax is imposed in terms of a tax levying Act on goods of that kind. A tax free status indicates that while goods have a tax free status, no tax will be payable on the goods if tax is imposed in terms of a tax levying Act on goods of that kind. Tax includes customs duty, excise duty, VAT and any other tax payable on the import or export of goods.

11. Why is a clearance declaration now required for transit instead of a manifest/transport document?

The rationale for changing the existing policy is based on the fact that SARS can only effectively control the movement of goods across our borders and the risk it poses if it has the necessary information. A manifest is a summary of cargo on board a vessel and it only provides a general description of the goods e.g. “said to contain” or “freight of all kinds”. It does not contain the tariff, value and origin information which is required to determine risk. The information on the transport document is merely based on information supplied to the carrier by a person in a foreign jurisdiction.

In contrast, a clearance declaration is submitted by a registered person or licensee or a registered agent located in the Republic and contains the tariff, value and origin information necessary to determine risk. That person also declares the truth of the information in a clearance declaration. The declaration is submitted in electronic format and runs through SARS’s risk engine within seconds. As that person commits to the correctness of the information relating to the clearance of the goods, he can be held liable if a false declaration is made.

12. What informed the requirement that movements from and into SACU are now imports and exports respectively?

In the 1964 Act, goods that crossed the border between the BLNS countries and the RSA were termed “movements” with their own supporting legal framework and policy and procedure, as opposed to goods imported or exported from non-BLNS countries. Business had to be conversant with two different regulatory frameworks. The CCA now simplifies the regulatory framework by providing that all good entering or leaving the Republic are imports and exports subject to a uniform set of rules. Furthermore, in other Customs Unions, goods entering or leaving member states are regarded as imports and exports respectively.