Customs & Excise

Certain sections quoted from the Budget 2020 documents.

27 Feb 2020 3 min read Special Budget Speech Alert Article

Excisable Products

As is the case each year, Government proposes an increase in duties and levies for excisable products in Schedule 1 Part 2A to the Customs and Excise Act 91 of 1964 (Customs Act). Of relevance this year is the following:

  • Tobacco and alcohol – an immediate increase in excise duties on alcohol and tobacco products by between 4,4% and 7,5%. Per example, the following:
  • Malt beer: Increase of 4,4% to R106,56 per litre absolute alcohol;
  • Unfortified wine: Increase of 4,4% to R4,39 per litre;
  • Sparkling wine: Increase of 6% to R14,36 per litre;
  • Spirits: Increase of 4,4% to R213,13 per litre absolute alcohol;
  • Cigarettes: Increase of 4,4% to R17,40 per 20 cigarettes;
  • Cigars: Increase of 7,5% to R96,45/23g; and
  • Pipe tobacco: Increase of 7,5% to R5,79/25g.
  • There will be no change to the excise duty on traditional African beer.

Environmental Taxes

  • Motor vehicle emissions will increase as follows from 1 April 2020:
  • Passenger cars: To R120 gCO2/km;
  • Double cabs: To R160 gCO2/km; and
  • The threshold will be adjusted from 120 gCO2/km to 95 gCO2/km for passenger cars.
  • Incandescent light bulbs: Increase from R8 to R10 from 1 April 2020.
  • Plastic bag levy: Increase from 12c to 25c per bag from 1 April 2020.

Fuel Taxes

  • Fuel taxes will increase as follows from 1 April 2020:
  • General fuel levy: Increase of 16c/litre; and
  • Road Accident Fund levy: Increase of 9c/litre.
  • Schedule 1 Part 2A duties on fuel will remain as is.

Carbon Tax

Increase by 5,6% to R127 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent.


  • Government intends to start taxing heated tobacco products and electronic cigarettes as follows:
  • Heated tobacco products: A new category of tariff subheading will be introduced for these products in Schedule 1 Part 2A to the Customs Act, to be taxed at the rate of 75% of the cigarettes excise rate with immediate effect; and
  • Electronic cigarettes: Government intends to tax these products in 2021.
  • Government intends to extend the current levy on plastic bags to all single-use plastics used for retail consumption, including plastic straws, utensils and packaging. Changes will be implemented in 2021.
  • Concerns regarding duty-free shops operating within the country were noted by Government in the 2019 Budget. Government intends to review potential abuse in relation to duty-free purchases by diplomats. It may be proposed that SARS may disclose information in this regard to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.
  • Government will consult with affected industries on the introduction of export taxes on scrap metal. The proposed export taxes are as follows:
  • Ferrous metals: R1,000 per tonne;
  • Aluminium: R3,000 per tonne;
  • Red metals: R8,426 per tonne; and
  • Other waste and scrap metals: R1,000 per tonne.

Consultation in this regard is expected to be concluded by end May 2020.

  • Government proposes an amendment to the Customs Act to provide for publication of tariff determinations and rules regarding:
  • circumstances under which these publications will be permitted;
  • the kinds of information that may be published; and
  • the manner of publication.

Stakeholders complained in relation to the difficulty in cessation of liability of import duties of the master, pilot or carrier of imported goods due to various factors. It is proposed that the Customs Act be amended to allow licensed removers of goods in bond to move containerised cargo from container terminals before they are released by customs. It is also proposed that the licensed removers be held liable from receipt of the cargo until delivery.

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