Sars releases Customs Requirements for travelling South Africans

Sars releases Customs Requirements for South African travellers File photo: INLSA

DURBAN – The South African Revenue Services has released a Customs Requirements for South Africa statement which informs South African travellers about the items that they have to declare when leaving and returning to the country.

According to the statement, South Africans that are travelling abroad are not required to declare their personal items when leaving or returning to the country, in terms of customs legislation.
In the legislation, personal items are described as personal laptops, cameras or iPad that are are a part of the travellers luggage when they are leaving the country.
The statement said that, based on the provisions, travellers cannot be penalised for not declaring or registering their personal items when they leave the country.
Although, the traveller may be asked by a customs officer to produce proof that the item was purchased locally or show ownership.
It is within the authority of the customs officer to establish whether the items can be described as new or used goods obtained whilst overseas which would have a duty implication as well as a penalty if not declared.
The proof mentioned above can be an invoice, an insurance record in regards to the laptop. Even the content in the laptop or any other means through which the officer can use his discretionary powers to satisfy that proof.
The alternative top providing the above proof is a process that has been created within the policy outline called Registration for Re-importation.
The process is more user-friendly and safe where the traveller completes a TC-01 (Traveller Card) that gives notice of his or her intent to register items for re-importation.
The card will then be presented to the customs official who will capture it online on the TRaveller declaration system, The declaration is verified when the traveller signs on the digital signature pad. Then a copy is printed for the traveller to keep as proof of registration.
SARS said that the process saves the traveller on having to be questioned about their personal items when they re-enter the country. The process is valid for six months which can be an advantage to frequent travellers.
If the officer is not happy that proof of local purchase or ownership can be confirmed then the officer will inform the traveller that the items will be detained until proof can be shown.
Alternatively, duty and VAT is charged and penalties can be charged for not declaring or false declaration if the traveller does not have proof.
The traveller can pay the security amount to cover the duty and VAT if they want to keep the item.
The money will be refunded to the traveller once he or she provides proof of local purchase or ownership.
R1500 to enter the country with my laptop
Earlier this month a traveller wrote a letter to Business Live about his experience of travelling back into the country with his laptop.
In the latter the traveller after travelling to South Africa from Vietnam he was made to pay R1500 to bring his own laptop into the country. In the letter the traveller said that he did have proof that would verify that he owned the laptop for many years.