SARS clamps down on electronics

Business traveller on flight


It’s been all over the news that SARS is clamping down on bringing electronics back into the country. And we know there have been conflicting reports of all kinds. 
Well, here it is in a simple snapshot and how it affects your business travels…
SARS has confirmed that “no traveller can be penalised for not declaring or registering their personal effects upon leaving the country”, but SARS does state that the traveller could be challenged by a Customs officer to provide proof of local purchase or ownership.” 

Basically, when you return from your travels back to South Africa, you could be asked by SARS to prove that you own your electronics (phone, laptop, ipad etc). 

There are two ways to do this…
1.    Keep your original purchase receipts on you.
2.    Register your personal possessions at customs before embarking on your travels.  NOTE this is NOT on a DA65 as many media articles have referred to lately. The DA65 was phased out for travellers many years ago and today it is only used within the commercial cargo environment, for example where goods are temporarily exported for repair abroad.

We at FCBT recommend the second option as it’s far more realistic than keeping receipts of your laptop that you purchased possibly years ago.

It is a fairly easy process which requires travellers to present themselves for Customs inspection before continuing through international security and passport control. Travellers will need to hand their passports to the customs official, provide their flight number and then the item’s type, e.g. iPhone 7 and serial number.

The information is captured online and valid for a period of six months, so if you travel again within this time period with the same items, your TC-01 (Traveller Card) will cover you for the re-importation of your goods. You will receive a printed copy to retain as proof of your registration.

According to SARS, if the traveller can furnish proof through an invoice, an insurance record or even content (in the case of a laptop), the customs officer can use his discretionary powers to satisfy that proof without having to secure a TC-01.

Failure to furnish proof will result in the item(s) being detained until proof of local purchase or ownership can be established. Alternatively, the traveller will have to pay duty and VAT, as well as possible penalties. 


Cape Town International Airport
Located on the Departures level, if facing the check-in desks and security, turn left at the top of the escalators and walk towards the airline ticketing counters. The customs desk is located around the corner from the VAT declaration desks.

OR Tambo International Airport
Customs is located in Terminal 2 Departures, about half-way along the hallway in which all the airline check-in desks are located. 

King Shaka International Airport
At King Shaka International, customs is located just behind the check-in counters in the International Departures hall.

Download a copy of the TC-01 form.  

If you’re still unsure, contact your FCBT travel manager.