Customs Licensing – e-Filing Relationship Management

Did you know… SARS Customs intends to manage the Customs supply chain (in part) through e-Filing? Correct, they intend to do so via the “Relationship Management” portal on e-Filing.

  • What does this mean?
  • Why are they doing this?
  • How will it impact you?
  • When will it become enforced?

e-Filing “Relationship Management”

Firstly, lets understand the concept. “Relationship Management” on the SARS Customs e-Filing portal requires that all clients who belong to a Customs Clearing Agent must become linked to the Clearing Agent.

Similarly, ‘clients’ of other Customs license types too will become linked on the e-Filing system, i.e. ‘clients’ of Bonded Warehouses, Removers of Goods in Bond, Customs Licensed Depots, and so forth.

In other words, as an importer or exporter of goods, you will need to be linked to all of your Logistics Service Providers on e-Filing. Examples include:

  • Customs Clearing Agents
  • Bonded Warehouses
  • Removers of Goods in Bond
  • Customs Licensed Depots
  • And so forth.

In time to come, you will not be allowed to trade through Customs without being linked to your Logistics Service Provider.

Similarly, Logistics Service Providers will not be allowed to trade through Customs if they are not linked to their clients.

The onus will be on the Logistics Service Provider to link or invite their clients to their business profiles on the e-Filing portal.

‘Clients’ of Logistics Service Providers will need to accept the “linkage” invitation from the Logistics Service Provider. This is a pre-requisite for the link to become active.

Rational of Customs “Relationship Management”?

“A rotten apple in the Customs supply chain is likely to lead to another rotten apple in the same chain.”

In other words, a company linked to a dishonest entity in the supply chain may in the same vein be suspected of being a dishonest role player. Therefore, Relationship management is a a risk management tool.

The concept of Customs supply chain Risk Management stems from Global Customs Supply Chain policy. Global policy instruments such as the SAFE Framework of Standards and the Revised Kyoto Convention were developed as a result of the September 2011 attacks on the US. They contain a strong element of Customs supply chain security.

Global Customs policy is created by the World Customs Organisation and the World Trade Organisation, to mention a few.

Linked to this are the various Customs Accreditation models adopted around the world. Examples include:

  • PTA (Preferred Trader Accreditation) (South Africa)
  • AEO (Authorised Economic Operator) (Europe, Africa and now South Africa)
  • CTPAT (Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism) (United States).

When will it become Enforced?

The first 100 Customs Clearing Agents were requested the start the process in 2022. Initially, the requirement to link will be a ‘soft’ approach requested by SARS. In time to come, one will become legally obligated to do so.

Currently, Migration and Linking is taking place in a staggered approach:

  • Firstly, Clearing Agents are being requested to migrate to the e-Filing platform
  • Secondly, Clearing Agents must “link” to their clients. Off-course, client acceptance on e-Filing is required
  • Thirdly, Importers, Exporters and Other Client Types will be requested to migrate to e-Filing
  • Fourthly, linking will at some point in the future become a legal obligation.

Please Contact us for advice or a quotation for Customs Licensing.

More information can be found at Licensing and Registrations.

Customs Licensing – Clearing Agents

Did you know… A Customs Clearing Agents license allows you to process Customs clearance declarations on behalf of an importer or exporter of goods?

One does not need a Deferment Facility. An alternative is to pay SARS in Cash or via EFT when processing entries.

General Requirements

The payment procedure for Cash or EFT is fairly simple. It involves obtaining a PRN (Payment Reference Number) in order to pay the duties and VAT to Customs.

While having a registered company at the CIPC is a requirement, you do not need to be registered for VAT. You do need to be registered for income tax purposes.

Naturally you will need the services of an IT Software Provider. They will help you to process Customs clearance declarations which become linked to the SARS entry system.

Holding a Clearing Agents license is not as complex as you might imagine.

Many Importers and Exporters are also registered Clearing Agents. They Customs clear their own goods.

Please Contact us for advice or a quotation.

Customs Clearing Agents vs Forwarding License

Customs Clearing Agents are required to license with SARS.

Freight Forwarders do not need to license with SARS. Those who cut their own House Air Waybills must be registered with FIATA.

Customs Licensing – Bond Stores

Did you know… Customs Bond Stores are part of a Government dispensation to help your company improve its cash flow and to save money?

This benefit can be attained over a period of two years from importation. In addition, you can extend this period when combined with similar Government dispensations.

Types of Bond Stores

The Two Broad Categories of Bond Stores Include:

  1. OS (Operating Store) – a standard Bond store for the storage of goods.
  2. SOS (Special Operating Store) – a special Bond Store for the storage of goods for specific or special circumstances.

Customs duties and VAT may be deferred for a period of up to two years in a Bond Store. Thereafter, one is obligated to clear the goods Ex Bond and pay the duties and VAT.

Numerous other Ex Bond options are available such as Rebating, Change of Ownership and Re-Exportation of goods.

Public and Private Stores

The new Customs legislation makes a clear distinction between Bond Stores which are intended for “Private” use, and those which are intended for “Public” use.

  1. Private Bond Stores: These are used by importers who own their own Bond Store not for other parties.
  2. Public Bond Stores: These are owned by Customs Clearing Agents, Customs Licensed Depots and the like. They are intended to be open to all clients.

The Customs Hub specialises in Bond Store applications, as well as applications for Surety Bonds.

We help our clients with Surety Bond calculations. Importantly we are able to obtain client data directly from SARS for this purpose.

Please Contact us for advice or a quotation.