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SARS Launches Customs Compliance Campaign

by Robert Lee, Tax-News.com, London

03 December 2003


The Commissioner of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) Pravin Gordhan held discussions with business and trade representatives last weekend which coincided with the launch of the government’s customs compliance campaign.

According to SARS, the purpose of the meeting was to “discuss the worrying levels of non-compliance within the Customs industry and to invite stakeholders to join SARS in this co-operative venture aimed at attacking the problems, levelling the playing fields and establishing a precedence of good corporate governance for the future.”

The statement continued: “The meeting agreed that the promotion of trade (imports and exports) and enhancing economic growth was vital to the future of all South Africans. Everyone also agreed that corrupt practices do not serve the interests of SARS or the industry as a whole. Industry representatives supported the initiative to take action against unscrupulous individuals and businesses.”

The Revenue Service highlighted a number of issues of concern relating to customs compliance including: unlicensed clearing agents practices; import of prohibited products such as counterfeit goods and drugs that enter ports of entry to the detriment of the entire economy; the under-valuation of goods; ghost exports; and evasion of excise duties

The South African customs laws were recently amended so as to allow SARS to grant accredited status to certain sectors including importers, exporters and clearing agents in a bid to aid firms comply with the customs regulations and help boost legitimate trade.


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