Import duty & taxes when importing

Import duty and taxes are charged when goods are imported into South Africa By a private individual, company or major corporation.  The valuation method is FOB (Free on Board), which means that the import duty and taxes payable are calculated exclusively on the value of the imported goods.  However, some duties are based part in value and part in quantity.  In addition to duty, imports are subject to sales tax (VAT).  Certain luxury or non-essential items (e.g. perfume) may be subject to additional ad valorem duties, and some commodities may be subject to anti-dumping or countervailing duties.

Duty Rates

Duty rates in South Africa vary from 0% to 45%, with an average duty rate of 18.74%.  Some goods are not subject to duty (e.g. laptops, electric guitars and other electronic products).

Sales Tax

VAT applies to most imports at 14% of the sum of FOB value, any duty and excise payable, and a 10% upliftment of the FOB value.

Minimum thresholds

There is no minimum threshold in South Africa, i.e. duty, VAT and other taxes where applicable, are payable regardless of the import value.

Other taxes and customs fees

Anti-dumping and countervailing duties are levied:

  • on goods considered to be “dumped” in South Africa; and
  • on subsidised imported goods.

These goods are the subject of investigations into pricing and export incentives in the country of origin; the rate imposed will depend on the result of the investigations. These duties are either levied on an ad valorem basis (as a percentage of the value of the goods) or as a specific duty (as cents per unit).