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 – Migration to e-Filing

Did you know… SARS Customs e-Filing Migration has Begun? SARS Customs have begun the process to migrate existing clients to e-Filing.

New Customs clients can be registered by Customs Tax Practitioners directly on e-Filing. Practitioners can also re-register existing clients on e-Filing.

Migration to e-Filing

SARS Customs e-Filing migration can be described as a re-registration of an existing client on e-Filing.

The re-registration is similar to a new application. Therefore, all documents must be supplied as-if one is applying for a new license.

All documents submitted must be fresh, i.e. they must not be outdated.

Migration is taking place in a staggered approach:

  • Firstly, Clearing Agents are being requested to migrate
  • 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.

License and Registration Types

Here is a list of the Major Customs Licensing and Registration types:

  1. Importer Exporter Code
  2. Bond Store Registration
  3. Rebate Manufacturing Store
  4. Clearing Agents License
  5. Deferment Accounts
  6. Remover of Goods in Bond
  7. Customs Road Consignor Bond
  8. Drawbacks of Duty Registration
  1. Company Name Change
  2. Foreign Registered Entities
  3. Trade Agreement Registrations
  4. Excise Rebate Manufacturing Stores
  5. Migration to e-Filing and Re-Registrations
  6. e-Filing Relationship Management, and
  7. RCG (Reporting and Conveyance of Goods).

Not all of these License and Registration types are on e-Filing.

Our Consultant and Managing Director, Graeme Lennie is a SARS Registered Customs Tax Practitioner.

We therefore have the unique ability to manage and submit SARS e-Filing registrations with approval from our clients.

Please Contact us for advice or a quotation.

Customs Licenses, Registrations and Rulings

          What a boring subject, right! Nobody I know dreams of the moment when they need to review their licencing and registration particulars with SARS. Well, neither does SARS, but guess what? Every now and again, someone at SARS Customs queries the status of your licence or registration particulars. When this happens, it will feel like a rude awakening. It usually happens when your company details have changed and nobody has notified SARS of the changes. This is why the subject deserves attention. Outdated information may result in shipments being held back and penalties being issued.

          While most licencing and registration types are open ended (i.e. valid indefinitely), some (licencing) are term based. Term based licencing currently relate to excise operations, searching for wrecks, depot operators, clearing agents, bonded removers, and Customs warehousing in an IDZ (Industrial Development Zone). Until now, importer and exporter registrations have being open-ended. In the future, most open ended licencing and registration types will terminate if not utilised for a period of three consecutive years.

          Going forward, the validity of company particulars will also affect the Clearance Instructions. For example, if personnel who are authorised to sign Clearance Instructions resign from your organisation or if role changes are made in the company division, you will need to update the authorised signatory with SARS (for Clearance Instruction purpose).

          Customs Rulings are also referred to as Determinations. Rulings or Determinations come in several forms namely TDN (Tariff Determinations), VDN (Value Determinations), and ROO (Rules of Original Determinations). Rulings are essentially decisions which were made by SARS Customs on your company or products. Such decisions are legally binding. You should review these (if you have any) on an annual basis.

For example, review for product changes on a TDN, a change in supplier or valuation details on a VDN, or a change in the level of manufacture of a product in the country of origin for a COO Determination. Advance Rulings are featured in the new legislation. These fall into the same category.

          In the future, all Customs Rulings or Determinations will expire every three years. For Determinations to remain valid, new applications will need to be made prior to expiry thereof.

          There are many different types of licencing, registration, determination and designation (another term used by Customs to define IDZ operations) types. Each of these will have their own specific adherence requirements. More information about these can be found in the current SARS SOP titled Licencing Registration and Designation number SC-CF-19 on the SARS website www.sars.gov.za, search under “Find a Publication”.

          Also don’t forget to review the validity of your securities (i.e. bonds) lodged with SARS, if you have any.  Registrations will soon be done via e-filing.