SARS (South African Revenue Service) Customs plays an integral role in the facilitation of movement of goods and people entering or exiting the borders of South Africa

Customs Tariffs are used for customs clearance, and these tariff codes are nominated by the Customs Department to each and every different moveable product imported or exported. Different tariff codes attract different rates of duty depending on the product

South African Customs have adopted what is known as the Harmonized System which is a uniform system also utilized by over 200 countries and territories globally.
The Customs Tariff Classification of a product is applied in terms of legal principles of tariff interpretation and determines the rate of duty applicable, when imported into South Africa. Due to the advancement of technology and the increasing number of new and sophisticated products being created and traded internationally, the classification of products under their correct tariff headings / Harmonized System codes have also become a more complex process.

Importers and Exporters in general do not have the required technical knowledge of customs tariffing, nor have access to the literature required to classify their goods correctly and if not for customs clearing agents, would result in incorrect payments of customs duties and VAT, which could lead to severe penalties being imposed by the Customs Authorities. Incorrect tariff classifications can have serious financial implications for the importer or exporter.


Customs can investigate and collect all underpayments on any incorrectly classified goods for a period of up to two years on previous shipments

Impose a fine which may amount to as much as three times the value of the goods for all incorrectly classified goods up to a period two years on previous shipments

Seize the goods and demand forfeiture

Imprisonment or a combination of all of the above.

Divergence Clearing & Forwarding (Pty) Ltd

9 Quigley Road, Milnerton, Cape Town, 7441

Tel: +27 (0) 21 552 5907

Mobile: +27 (0) 74 892 1164

Fax: +27 (0) 21 555 4625