Duty Calls


Tax Laws Amendment Bills, 2018

The South African Revenue Service (Sars) on 25 October announced that the finance minister had tabled the Tax Administration Laws Amendment Bill, 2018 and the Taxation Laws Amendment Bill in the National Assembly.

Tax Administration Laws Bills, 2018

Sars on 19 October, in anticipation of the finance minister’s release, published the Explanatory Summary of the Tax Administration Laws Amendment Bill, 2018. The bill provides for the amendment of the Customs and Excise Act, 1964, by inserting a provision enabling the commissioner for Sars to implement anti-forestalling measures in respect of anticipated increases in excise duties. In addition, to insert a provision providing for the writing off or compromise of any duty, interest, penalty or forfeiture incurred and owed to the commissioner for the benefit of the National Revenue Fund (NRF). The bill further provides for the amendment of the yetto-be-introduced Customs Control Act, 2014, to effect changes to certain definitions and to amend a provision to ensure that reporting requirements in respect of the departure of trucks due to leave South Africa are adhered to irrespective of whether a truck has cargo on board. In addition, to insert a provision providing for the writing off or compromise of debt owed to the commissioner for Sars for credit of the NRF.

MTBP Statement 2018

On 24 October the finance minister presented the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement 2018, which contains no more information on customs duties and excise duties than the outcome against budget and the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) revenue pool. The budgeted customs duties collection for 2018/19 have been upwardly adjusted to R54 billion, ad valorem excise duties to R4.3 billion, and specific excise duties to R40 billion. The ‘excise duties’ include both a domestic and an imported component.

MTBP Sacu Payments

Sacu revenue pool payments have been revised upwards by R4 billion for 2019/20 and R0.9 billion in 2020/21 compared with the National Treasury’s 2018 budget estimates. According to the MTBP, it reflects a larger common revenue pool in line with import growth and adjustments to estimates of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

WCO Immediate Release Guidelines

The World Customs Organisation (WCO) on 25 October issued a reminder of its “Guidelines for the Immediate Release of Consignments by Customs – Version III (June 2018)”. The guidelines were updated to provide specific guidance to both customs and trade on expediting the release/ clearance of increasing volumes of low-value and small e-commerce shipments/parcels. In addition, the guidelines provide examples of WCO members’ practices and reference other relevant international standards and tools.

Framework of Standards on crossborder e-commerce

The WCO on 25 October issued a reminder of its “Cross-Border E-Commerce Framework of Standards”.