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Thread: Invoicing international clients

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Invoicing international clients

    How does one invoice international clients? Obviously you make out an invoice and send it... BUT, what is involved from a VAT and exporting perspective?

    The detail: it looks like I am going to have an international client on my books soon and we'll be invoicing mainly for services (there will also be some products, but we'll come back to that later). Do I need an exporter code to invoice for services?

    My guess is that the invoices will not be VAT invoices - is that correct?

    Is there anything that I need to be aware of with regards to that money being paid into my account? Any exchange control related issues? I'm sure there will be bank charges, but that is par for the course.

    Any other potential issues that I need to consider?
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    Silver Member geraldenek's Avatar
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    VAT on goods exported is zero rated.

    Services supplied to a non-resident may only be zero-rated if the services are supplied directly to that non-resident, or any other person, and both the non-resident and the other person are not in South Africa at the time the services are supplied.

    You will have to apply for a customs code from a SARS branch that deals with customs - there are lots of different forms for different areas and it is best to go and sit with them they will be able to assist and are normally very friendly and clued-up.

    I can't remember the amount correctly but i think it is R30,000 - if your exports exceed this amount an F178 will be sent to the reserve bank so if the money does get paid to your account you won't have a hassle of receiving it, you will just supply your bank with the invoice.

    I'm not sure what you are shipping but it is best to get hold of a freight forwarder and they will do all the export documentation in terms of your SAD500 etc.

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    Diamond Member wynn's Avatar
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    Do you have to bring the money back in? maybe this is the way to have a great overseas holiday and not loose anything on the exchange rate.
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    I ship and do services regularly to overseas clients. There is no VAT on the invoice.

    When invoicing for services, I usually issue a proforma invoice in the currency concerned, as they wanted the quote in US Dollars. When the money is received in my bank, I then issue a zero rated VAT invoice for the exact amount received in my books. This balances the sales with payments received. When I fill in my VAT return, there is a section on the VAT return for Zero rated sales. Enter the figure in this column.

    Now when shipping goods out. If it is a once of thing, then the shipping company may do it under a general export license code if it is below a certain amount - can not remember the amount. How ever you need to go to SARS to get an exporters code. In my case I never ship goods before payment is received, so once the payment is received in Rands, when you are ready to ship, I create a invoice with the Rands amount. I take it to the bank and they stamp it. This is then supplied with with the respective export documents. The shipping company takes care of this on your behalf.

    Before the bank releases the funds, you have to fill in a form which gets sent to the Reserve bank. The stamping of the invoice and the payment receive match up in the bank books so all is in order.
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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the info guys.

    Quote Originally Posted by Justloadit View Post
    How ever you need to go to SARS to get an exporters code.
    I currently have a customs client number for importing, is the exporting code a different number or the same thing? If it is different, do you know which form I need to fill in to get one?
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    Diamond Member Justloadit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by duncan drennan View Post
    Thanks for all the info guys.



    I currently have a customs client number for importing, is the exporting code a different number or the same thing? If it is different, do you know which form I need to fill in to get one?
    Hi Duncan,

    In the end after much deliberation, I landed up having the same number for importing and exporting. Fortunately, my shippers handled the paperwork on my behalf. What does happen, is that your code is in a data base at SARS, which gets accessed by shippers and customs, so you do need the number. It takes ablut 2 weeks to get the code.
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    Silver Member geraldenek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by duncan drennan View Post
    Thanks for all the info guys.



    I currently have a customs client number for importing, is the exporting code a different number or the same thing? If it is different, do you know which form I need to fill in to get one?
    The code will be the same for imports and exports but you still need to have to register for doing exports at SARS and the different regions. You can have a look on their website under forms - customs and you will start by completing the DA185.4A2 on that form you will mark the appropriate boxes and the form will sort of tell you all the forms that needs to be completed.

    You can just give the customs office a call - Stellenbosch has a branch the number is 021 887 3036 and they will be able to tell you for which ones you need to register for exporting to the countries you want to if it's falling under AGOA,TDCA, GSP, SADC, SACU/EFTA in order to save you time by not completing everything.
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