Legal and Policy
2023 Legal and Policy

Legal and Policy - 1 June 2023



  • 31 May 2023 – Accredited traders in Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa will benefit from lower trade costs and quicker turn-around times for imports and exports, because of a Mutual Recognition Arrangement signed today by the five Member States of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU).

The Heads of Revenue Administrations in Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa, have agreed to recognise each other’s importers and exporters who have been granted the status of an Authorised Economic Operator (AEO).

Traders who are AEOs across the SACU region will benefit from fast-tracked controls and reduced administration costs for customs clearance.

Read the full media release.

  • 31 May 2023 – South Africa recorded a preliminary trade balance surplus of R3.5 billion attributable to exports of R163.8 billion and imports of R160.3 billion, in April 2023.

Read the full Media Release.

See the Trade Statistics webpage here.

  • 31 May 2023 – This communication serves as a reminder that the SARS Third Party Data Annual Submissions 2023 for the period 1 March 2022 – 28 February 2023 opened on 1 April 2023 and will close today, 31 May 2023. Submissions in respect of data files and declarations of the various reportable data types, are now due.

As of this morning, we have received 86% of the expected submissions for this period.

If you have already made your respective submissions, we thank you kindly for your voluntary compliance.

You are encouraged to make your submissions ahead of time to avoid last minute challenges and potential delays that you may encounter.

  • 31 May 2023 – Customs and Excise Act, 1964

Permission for Interruption of Transit of Goods through the Republic

  • 31 May 2023 – Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000, and Tax Administration Act, 2011

Arena Holdings (Pty) Ltd t/a Financial Mail and Others v CSARS and Others (CCT 365/21) [2023] ZACC 13 (30 May 2023)

  • 30 May 2023 – Arena Holdings and others v SARS and another Constitutional Court Case No 365/21 – concerning tax confidentiality and the right of access to information

The Constitutional Court has handed down judgment in the matter involving a request to access certain tax records of the former President of the Republic of South Africa. This request was made in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) and was declined by SARS on the basis that legislation prohibited SARS from acting in any other way.

The Constitutional Court has made findings regarding the constitutional invalidity of certain provisions of the PAIA as well as the Tax Administration Act 28 of 2011 (the TAA). It has ordered that Parliament, within the next 24 months considers measures to address the constitutional validity. In the meantime, and until Parliament remedies the constitutional invalidity, the Court has ordered a “read-in” to the PAIA and the Tax Administration Act, 2011 (TAA).

The Constitutional Court further directed that the request for the said record must be reconsidered by SARS against the “read-in” provisions. These provisions provide that SARS must consider whether:

  • The disclosure of the record would reveal evidence of a substantial contravention of, or failure to comply with, the law, or
  • The disclosure of the record would reveal evidence of an imminent and serious public safety of environmental risk, and
  • The public interest in making the disclosure clearly outweighs the harm

While SARS is considering the application of the judgment in full, the Commissioner wishes to note that taxpayer confidentiality remain fundamental to our administration. The judgment does not set aside the tax confidentiality provisions. It sets a high threshold to meet when access is requested to the tax records of a taxpayer.

Commissioner Kieswetter states: “We respect the findings of the Court, and are applying our mind to exact implication for SARS and taxpayers. I wish to assure all taxpayers that any request made under PAIA for the tax records of a taxpayer will be judiciously scrutinised within the parametres set by the Constitutional Court. We must guard any frivolous abuse of the provisions set out by the Constitutional Court.”

For further information please contact SARSMedia@sars.gov.za

amendment to rules under sections 19A and 120 – Amendment of rule 19A1.01 to provide for the retrospective approval of licensing applications in respect of vaping solutions (DAR246).

  • 29 May 2023 – Income Tax Act, 1962: Tables of Interest Rates

Table 3 – Rates at which interest-free or low interest loans are subject to income tax

  • 29 May 2023 – The South African Revenue Service (SARS) urges all employers to comply with their legal obligations regarding the annual Employers Filing Season by the deadline of 31 May to avoid penalties, interest and / or criminal charges.

Employers are required to submit their Employer Annual Reconciliation Declarations (EMP501) to SARS, as well as outstanding monthly declarations (EMP201) and previous years’ annual reconciliations (EMP501).

Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) payments must be up to date and the IRP5/IT3(a) data provided to SARS must be verified and accurate. The correct data is important so that SARS may pre-populate income tax returns and auto-assess the identified taxpayers correctly. The correct data is also important where taxpayers have to file a return, to enable them to do so with the correct information during the filing season for individuals, which starts in July 2023.

SARS requests employees to check if their details on the IRP5/IT3(a) are correct.

Third party data suppliers such as medical aid schemes and banks are also required to submit verified and accurate information to SARS and to their clients.

These are important requirements that enable SARS to offer a streamlined and seamless service to taxpayers in line with our objective to make it easy and simple for taxpayers to comply with their obligations.

Employers, tax practitioners and payroll administrators need to download the latest version of Employers e@syFile. This online channel allows employers to submit their EMP501 electronically. SARS also encourages small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) to use this platform and move from manual to automated payroll systems.

For more information on Employers Filing Season, visit the SARS website www.sars.gov.za.

  • 29 May 2023 – RFP33/2022: Acquisition of Software Asset Management Tool, Professional Services and Maintenance and Support.

More information is now available in the following document:

Communication no 3

  • 26 May 2023 – Income Tax Act, 1962

Binding Class Ruling 086 – Waiver of debt by an employer relating to the unwinding of a share purchase scheme

More information is now availability in the following documents:

  • 24 May 2023 – The latest scam is a letter with the title ‘Tax Refund Rxxx’ asking unsuspecting taxpayers to click on a link to view and accept payment and confirm details. Please do not click on any suspicious links and delete these emails. If in doubt, email phishing@sars.gov.za. View this latest scam here.






DivisionLegal and Policy
Legal and Policy
Date1 June 2023