A small business owner who mistakenly submitted incorrect documentation to her clearing agent for imported goods got a shock of her life when she was heavily penalised by SARS customs to the tune of R170 000 on an order worth R260 000.
What happens when an honest mistake like this gets you in trouble with the law?
An executive for Customs & Excise Operational Center at Sars, Beyers Theron says Sars mandate is to administer law and order.
According to legislation, if you submit declaration without the correct invoicing, it equates to false declaration and under the customs and excise operations that is a serious offence.— Beyers Theron, Acting Chief Officer for Customs & Excise Operational Center at Sars
The legislation puts the responsibility on the importer and the exporter for the deeds done by the clearing agent. They need to make sure that whatever the clearing agent has submitted they have a copy of it to make sure that the goods are cleared correctly.— Beyers Theron, Acting Chief Officer for Customs & Excise Operational Center at Sars
Theron says the declaration process is automated and there is no Sars officer that can intervene in the process.
He says the business owner has right to appeal the penalty.
The client has 30 days after the declaration to apply for an appeal, which will go for adjudication and within 60 days after the appeal has been launched there will be an outcome.— Beyers Theron, Acting Chief Officer for Customs & Excise Operational Center at Sars
To hear the rest of the interview with Beyers Theron, listen below:
This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Local business slapped with hefty fine for submitting incorrect papers to Sars