Stephen Levitt, CEO of removals expert Clark & Rose, has provided the following guidance for those relocating to South Africa on what can, and cannot, be imported into the country.
What can I take with me?
If you are immigrating to South Africa, you are permitted to import your household goods and personal effects (excluding alcoholic beverages and tobacco products) without the payment of import duties.
It is essential that you are in South Africa when your consignment arrives. Should you wish to import your effects after your arrival, you have six months to complete the relocation. After that period, you will need special permission to make use of the import concession.
You are prohibited from shipping, among other items, two-way radios, feathers, furs, animal skins and ivory, and any product from a protected species.
For further details, see the South African Revenue Services website, www.sars.gov.za
Can I take my car or motorbike?
If you`re a first-time migrant to South Africa, you can import one motor vehicle per family free of duty.
First, before the vehicle is shipped to South Africa, you must get a letter of authority (LOA) issued by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS). This LOA has to be submitted to customs at the time of clearance. You will also require an import permit issued by South Africa`s Department of Trade and Industry.
Duties and VAT on importing a vehicle are calculated upon the value accepted by customs plus 10%, which is called the customs value. Duty is then charged at 58% of this customs value. To calculate the VAT, this duty amount is added to the customs value, then 14% VAT is applied to the combined customs value and duty.
To avoid paying duty and VAT on your car, you will need to prove to South African customs that when you departed from South Africa you had no intention of ever returning. That will include proving that you closed all bank accounts in South Africa and retained no property in South Africa. Also, you will need to prove that you owned a home and obtained permanent status in your country of origin. It`s also worth noting that no left-hand drive vehicles purchased after 1 January 2000 will be allowed entry.
For further information, see www.sabs.co.za
What about duties, VAT and tax?
A peculiar feature of importing goods into South Africa is that the owner of the shipment must be in South Africa before customs clearance can take place. Provided that this is the case, household goods and personal effects can be imported duty free.
If you`re a returning resident, you must have been absent from South Africa for an unbroken period of at least six months, and, to avoid paying duty and VAT, you will need to prove to South African customs that when you departed from South Africa you had no intention of ever returning. This will include proving that all bank accounts in South Africa were closed and that no property was retained in South Africa. Also, you will need to prove that you owned a home and obtained permanent status in your country of origin.
For more information, including a comprehensive guide to shipping methods, go to www.clarkandrose.co.uk/south-africa