SARS launched a new self-service automated system in 2020 to make it easier for stakeholders and intermediaries to register and/or license for Customs purposes. The Registration, Licensing and Accreditation (‘RLA’) system has undergone various enhancements since its launch.
Existing Customs clients could continue trading and were not affected. Only new client type applications (for the RLA-enabled client types) were processed on the new system.
The first category of existing clients who were able to migrate to the new system were Clearing Agents. This was to allow Clearing Agents to register relationships with their clients on the Relationship Management component on RLA.
SC-CF-19 – Registration Licensing and Designation – External Policy (sars.gov.za)
Currently customs clients have been able to capture and submit their Registration and Licensing (RLA) applications on the electronic RLA platform through eFiling.
You can now view a tutorial video on how to access Customs, Registration and Accreditation on eFiling released by SARS on 16 March 2023: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kN-sZWOFkpw
In terms of Rules 59A.01A(c)(i) and 60.10(1)(a) of the Customs and Excise Act, all Customs and Excise registrants, or class of registrants, and any licensee or class of licensees, are therefore required to update or confirm current registration information by completing and submitting in accordance with Rules 59A.01A(b)(i) and 60.01A(b)(i) the electronic application and to furnish any additional information required, if applicable.
It is therefore a legislative requirement that all Customs and Excise registrants and licensees captured on the SARS Customs and Excise register update their company or individual details, whichever the case may be.
SARS Customs intends to manage the Customs supply chain (in part) through e-Filing. They intend to do so via the “Relationship Management” portal on e-Filing.
- What does this mean?
- Why are they doing this?
- How will it impact you?
- When will it become enforced?
e-Filing “Relationship Management”
Firstly, lets understand the concept. “Relationship Management” on the SARS Customs e-Filing portal requires that all clients who belong to a Customs Clearing Agent must become linked to the Clearing Agent.
Similarly, ‘clients’ of other Customs license types too will become linked on the e-Filing system, i.e., ‘clients’ of Bonded Warehouses, Removers of Goods in Bond, Customs Licensed Depots, and so forth.
In other words, all Importer or Exporter of goods, will need to be linked to all their Logistics Service Providers on e-Filing. Examples include:
- Customs Clearing Agents
- Bonded Warehouses
- Removers of Goods in Bond
- Customs Licensed Depots
- And so forth.
In time to come, importers / exporters will not be allowed to trade through Customs without being linked to their Logistics Service Provider.
Similarly, Logistics Service Providers will not be allowed to trade through Customs if they are not linked to their clients.
The onus will be on the Logistics Service Provider to link or invite their clients to their business profiles on the e-Filing portal.
‘Clients’ of Logistics Service Providers will need to accept the “linkage” invitation from the Logistics Service Provider. This is a pre-requisite for the link to become active.
When will it become Enforced?
- Firstly, Clearing Agents must migrate to the e-Filing platform;
- Secondly, Clearing Agents must “link” to their clients. Of course, client acceptance on e-Filing is required;
- Thirdly, Importers, Exporters and Other Client Types will be requested to migrate to e-Filing;
- Fourthly, linking is now a legal obligation in terms of Rules 59A.01A.(c)(i) and 60.10(1)(a) of the Customs and Excise Act.
This office has noted that some of our clients received notifications from their Clearing Agents to update their company or individual details with SARS on eFile on the Relationship Management component of RLA. On further investigation it was confirmed that these were clients that registered with customs prior to 2020 when SARS launched the RLA self-service. In other words, the pre-2020 registered importers / exporters must register on the RLA self-service.
The following documentation will have to be submitted on e-file:
- Telephone/cellphone account of business.
- Telephone/cellphone account of Public Officer.
- Municipal account or lease agreement to verify company Street address.
- Municipal account or lease agreement to verify Public Officer Street address.
- Bank statement, not letter in the name of the company.
- Certified copy of the Public Officer’s ID.
- Resolution signed by the Public Officer.
- Company registration documents.
SARS is conducting roadshows in the regions to assist traders to onboard onto the electronic RLA eFiling system. Click the following link to see where they will be next.
The regional roadshows will provide traders the opportunity to have physical interactions with SARS’ Registration, Licensing and Accreditation officers, who will support traders to activate their eFiling profiles and navigate the RLA eFiling system by submitting an application themselves.