Before we delve into the first Customs and Excise instalment of 2017, we would like to wish you a happy and prosperous new year. Without further ado, please find the selected highlights from the Customs and Excise environment below:

  • FTW reported that SARS aims to launch the new customs legislation during the first half of 2017. The process is planned to be phased in over a two year period and will commence with the registration, licensing and accreditation process, of which the first deliverable will be Customs Sufficient Knowledge. We remind readers that all current registration and licenses will have to be re-applied for under the new legislation. We will use this Alert to advise you as to when the process will commence. Should you wish us to inform you of the commencement via email, please send a request to petr.erasmus@cdhlegal.com. Naturally, we remain available to assist with such re-registration and/or re-licensing.
  • In the judgment of Coconut Express CC v SARS and Others 78 SATC 297 ([2016] 2 All SA 749 (KZD)), it was held (and/or confirmed) that:
  • A court order in a taxpayer’s favour does not allow such taxpayer to deviate from the provisions of the Customs and Excise Act, No 91 of 1964 (Act); and
  • SARS may only detain goods to establish whether the goods are liable to forfeiture. Once SARS confirms that the goods are liable to forfeiture, the goods must be seized. If not liable to forfeiture, the goods must be forthwith released. SARS only has a reasonable period within which to finalise its investigation (and either release or seize) in this regard. Further, the same applies to provisional payments made for release of goods pending a SARS investigation.
  • Amendments to Schedule 1 Part 1 of the Act:
  • Insertions and substitutions to headings 15.07 - .08 and 15.11 - .13 relating to various vegetable oils inserting new provisions for these products marketed and supplied for use in the process of cooking food; and
  • Insertions and substitutions to sub-heading 3005.10 relating to adhesive dressings and other articles having an adhesive layer, increasing the general rate of customs duty on adhesive bandages from free of duty to 10%.
  • A provisional payment of 13.9% in relation to safeguard duty was imposed on frozen bone-in portions of fowls of the species Gallus Domesticus of TH0207.14.9 up to and including 3 July 2017 imported from or originating in the European Union.
  • The Standing Committee on Finance and the Portfolio Committee on Health invited comments on the Taxation of Sugar Sweetened Beverages by 27 January 2017. Comments to Mr Allen Wicomb; Committee Secretary; 3rd Floor, 90 Plein Street, Cape Town, 8000; e-mail: awicomb@parliament.gov.za; tel: 021 403 3759; fax: 021 403 3942. We are available to assist in this regard.
  • Schedules 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 to the Act were amended, to implement HS 2017 and to make provision for the effect of these changes on permits issued by ITAC. Rule 75 relating to rebates has also been amended to cater for the switch-over. The changes are effective from 1 January 2017.
  • Item 202.00 of the Schedule to the Rules for form DA260 in respect of wines has been substituted.
  • National Treasury issued a media statement to inform interested parties that the current variable formula on import duties on wheat will continue to apply after 31 December 2016, until further notice. The review process by ITAC is expected to be concluded very early in the first quarter of 2017, at which point a new revised formula will be implemented.
  • The Namibian Customs and Excise Act, 1998, was amended (and will come into operation on a date to be determined by the Minister by notice in the Gazette) to:
  • Insert new definitions;
  • Provide for the streamlining of customs controls and customs procedure for the better facilitation of trade and for risk management;
  • Further address ethics and integrity requisites;
  • Strengthen the provisions relating to the exchange of and access to information and confidentiality;
  • Provide for the territorial application of the Act;
  • Provide for the automation and the use of information technology in electronic commerce;
  • Accommodate the One Stop Border post concept by providing for places of entry or exit in terms of international agreements with SADC member states and adjoining countries;
  • Provide for co-operation between government offices, ministries and agencies to facilitate the functioning of the national single window concept;
  • Change the time frame for the report of arrival and lodging of declarations to the customs and excise office;
  • Permit or require the declaration of goods imported overland to be lodged electronically and prior to importation;
  • Simplify provisions requiring an importer or exporter to produce documents and pay duties;
  • Provide for the registration of legal persons as authorised economic operators;
  • Provide for the imposition of an environmental levy in respect of certain goods manufactured and imported into Namibia;
  • Require that electronic documents and records be maintained; and
  • Provide for incidental matters.
  • By notice dated 6 January 2017, ITAC invited new importers to submit permit applications in terms of rebate item 460.11/00.00/01.00 [relating to used overcoats, car-coats, raincoats, anoraks, ski-jackets, duffle coats, mantles, three-quarter coats, greatcoats, hooded caps, trench coats, gabardines, padded waistcoats and parkas (but no other clothing articles)) classifiable under tariff headings 61.01, 61.02, 62.01, 62.02 and 6309.00.13, for 2017, within three weeks from the date of the notice. Interim guidelines, rules, conditions and application forms pertaining to the rebate provision were also published.
  • On 11 January 2017 President Jacob Zuma has signed, among others, the following Bills into law:
  • Taxation Laws Amendment Act - the Bill seeks to amend inter alia, the Act, in order to bring it in line with the new Taxation Laws Amendment Act;
  • Rates and Monetary Amounts and Amendment of Revenue Laws Act, 2016 - so as to amend rates of duty in Schedule 1 to the Act; and
  • Tax Administration Laws Amendment Act, 2016 - so as to narrow the scope of provisions relating to Special Economic Zones in the Act and to align terminology therein with terminology used in the Special Economic Zones Act, 2014.

More information relating to the above is available upon request.