The SARS legal division is currently reviewing some of the methods of instructions discussed below. These discussions are inclusive of all the methods and considerations that are still under review.
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SARS has become pretty serious about the requirement for traders to complete the Clearance Instructions. Going forward, all new trader registrants will need to indicate which personnel in their organisation have the authority to sign Clearance Instructions. The new application forms will contain provision for the name, designation and identification number of the individuals who are duly authorised to sign on their organisations behalf. When clearance documents become queried or audited by SARS, they will be in a position to verify the details and signatures on the instruction with their internal records.
There are four methods which may be used for completing a Clearance Instruction:
1) Clearance Instruction: this is a form which is completed by the Trader per shipment.
2) Singular Clearance Instruction: this term recently coined by SARS is a blanket instruction used for repetitive clearances of goods of a similar or identical nature over a specified period of time.
3) Draft Clearance Declaration: a ‘draft’ Customs clearance declaration may be completed by the LSP (Logistics Service Provider), printed, and signed by the Trader. The signed Draft Declaration may be used as a Clearance Instruction,
4) Power of Attorney: a trader may sign a Power of Attorney over to the LSP who may in turn complete Clearance Instructions on behalf of the Trader.
A Singular or Blanket Clearance Instruction would normally be accompanied by an indemnity to the LSP. The indemnity will serve to indemnify the LSP of any risk should the information pertaining to the Singular Instruction change without prior notice. It is important therefore to ensure that the LSP is continually informed of any changes such as a change of personnel (who are authorised to sign instructions), company details, clearance requirements, and so forth.
Signing a Power of Attorney over to a LSP grants the service provider with the authority to complete instructions on your behalf. This has the effect of handing your rights over to the LSP and by virtue of this, indemnifies the LSP against recourse. It will be equally important to keep your LSP abreast of changes in clearance requirements.
It is advised that traders who make use of methods other than the standard Clearance Instructions should review these forms annually. This is in any event a requirement by SARS Customs for those Traders who are involved in the PT (Preferred Trader) accreditation system.
Going forward, Clearance Instructions must be complete for all modes of transport, even for airfreight clearances.