This case arises from a dispute between the taxpayer and SARS about the classification for customs duty purposes of certain goods imported into South Africa by the taxpayer. SARS conducted an audit of the bill of entry in terms of which the components for the greenhouse structures were imported. SARS then informed the taxpayer by letter that he considered that that the imported goods had been incorrectly classified for import duty purposes. a Letter of demand was issued for payment of duties, additional VAT, penalties and interest as foreshadowed in the SARS’s earlier letter. The taxpayer contended that the said goods did not attract ordinary customs duty on importation. The letter of demand amounted to a tariff determination by SARS in terms of s 47(9)(a) of the Act. If the classification contended for by the taxpayer is correct no duty is payable. But if SARS determination were to be upheld, the taxpayer will have to pay an amount of at least R547 214,34 by way of duty, additional VAT, interest and penalties. The issue is in essence an appeal against the Commissioner’s determination.
The taxpayer appeal has been substantially successful. The court held that the imported components that did not require further working and thus qualified for classification purposes as components of the prefabricated greenhouses would, upon assembly, manifest largely completed articles. On the issue does it for classification purposes negate the character of the goods as unassembled prefabricated buildings, the court held that it seems that the two 37- metre rolls of plastic that were not pre-cut components and required further working for the purpose of being used in the assembly of the building fall to be classified separately. The weight and value for duty purposes of the two rolls of plastic are not apparent on the evidence and the matter will therefore have to be referred back to the Commissioner to make an appropriate assessment in that regard.
Section 240A of the Tax Administration Act, 2011 (as amended) requires that all tax practitioners register with a recognized controlling body before 1 July 2013. It is a criminal offense to not register with both a recognized controlling body and SARS.