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Be warned: Don’t export goods before Sars has released the bill of entry

If you’re thinking of exporting goods before SA Revenue has released the bill of entry – don’t! It could result in huge penalties, according to Customs @ Wylie.

The exportation of goods from South Africa is good for our economy, especially if the goods are of South African origin. The government indirectly encourages the exportation of goods through the fact that there is currently no export duty in place.

Due to the non-existent export duty, some exporters and agents think that Sars’ export magnifying glass is not as strong as the one it uses to view imports – and for the most part this is true. Sars is however mandated to protect our borders and this includes controlling both the import and export of goods to and from the Republic.

Regarding export cargo, Sars investigates the date the SAD500 export bill of entry was generated and the date the goods were exported ie, placed into stacks. Section 38(3)(b)(i) of the Customs & Excise Act 91 of 1964 states that an export bill of entry must be delivered to Sars before the goods are exported.

Goods exported by ship are deemed to have been exported from the Republic when the goods are delivered to the port authority, depot operator, master of the ship or a container operator. This is so that Sars has the option of, among other things, detaining and inspecting the cargo.

Exporting goods before Sars has released the bill of entry means that Sars has effectively been denied the right to fulfil its mandated function. The penalties raised by the revenue authority for such a transgression can run into millions, not to mention the cost to the value chain.

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