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Thread: VAT importer registration

  1. #1
    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    VAT importer registration

    I recall from a conversation with a courier that if you buy products directly from overseas more than a certain number of times within a year (three if I remember correctly) that you have to register as a VAT importer.

    What I want to do is buy certain items directly and have a courier bring them in for me.

    What are the rules around this and how do I go about registering (if required)?
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    Unfortunately my VAT knowledge a bit rusty but I must admit I have never heard of such conditions?

    First point to consider - are you a vendor as defined, i.e. do you import the goods "with a view to further an enterprise"?

    "Enterprise" is defined as "...activity which is carried on continuously or regularly by any person in the Republic, ...., and in the course or furtherance of which goods or services are supplied to any other person for a consideration, whether or not for profit." . Note - no actual quantity legislated.

    So how many transactions are needed to qualify as "continuously or regularly"? One man's plenty is another's meagre?

    Would be interesting to hear other views?

  3. #3
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Yvonne might be able to shed some light on this.

    I definitely remember the subject coming up before; from memory I think it was the third time within the year that the person had imported something. They were relatively petty purchases - books from Amazon or something like that.

    At the time I remember getting the sense that the problem might have been the courier getting tired of dealing with SARS for "sundry" imports.
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    Duncan, are these items for resale, or for your own personal use?

    If you are importing regularly through a courier, almost all courier agents now offer the full service - Freight Clearing & Forwarding Agents, so they would be the best people to advise you.

    Registering as an importer used to be very easy, prior to FICA etc. don't know how complicated it is now, so if you would prefer a direct contact, I can give you a contact name if you would like to be sure.

    Yvonne

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yvonne View Post
    Duncan, are these items for resale, or for your own personal use?
    They are for resale and use in company projects. One item is an electronic component that will be assembled into a product, the other is a PC communication peripheral.

    I know the couriers will handle all the clearing, and I am planning to have a chat with them about this.

    The thing that I want to avoid is making an order (say the 4th in a year) and ending up with some critical project components stuck while I run around trying to get a VAT importer number. I want to pre-empt that (if necessary).
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    My freight expert- Jill - of Freitan an excellent company - has advised us that you are only permitted 1 import or export, not per year but in total! For any imports or export after that the client will have to pay a penalty when he or she registers.

    If he or she registers as a private individual he will not be able to claim tax back if he or she re-sells!

    Jill also suggests that the person or company contact the vat office in PTA, they are extremely helpful!

    A freight agent can help but it depends on the size of the shipments, Jill suggests that they stick to a courier as all charges will be based on the DDP bases ( much easier than being sent as cargo)

    With regard to registering as an Importer/Exporter, he or she can contact SARS at www. sars.gov.za they would need to download a form called a DA 185. Once this has been completed they would need to have originals or certified copies of the company consent to register, ID and proof of address this can all be taken to their local SARS dealer.

    The SARS website also has all the contact details for the VAT office in PTA.

    Hope this helps

    Yvonne

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Thanks Yvonne! You are a star

    I really appreciate the feedback. I'll track down that DA 185, as I've struggled to find info about this topic on SARS website.
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