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So you want to take your car back to SA duty free?

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Old 21-05-2005, 12:54 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Last blog entry: Mon, 2010-08-30 08:56
Location: Cambridge
So you want to take your car back to SA duty free?

Motor cars
It has been brought to our attention that a few people have been bringing their cars back into SA duty free. It is not a simple process, but here is some information that you may wish to consider along your path.

The primary disincentive regarding bringing a car home is the duty which Customs(SARS) impose on bringing a car in (between 60 and 90%). According to legislation, this duty would be refunded to people if they had officially emigrated or were not citizens of South Africa, once they received South African residency. The essence of this law is that it precluded anyone with South African citizenship from bringing a car in duty free.

It appears that the customs have now changed their internal policy of classification of non resident. What follows is speculative because they will not define it for us, so it is based on what we have learned from people that have been successful.

• If you have been out of South Africa for at least four years
• and you have achieved the right to live in the country where you have been based, on an indefinite basis (i.e. residency, citizenship, indefinite leave to remain etc).
• And you qualify to bring your car home on all the criteria required by the various government departments (see motor vehicle article)
• And you can prove that you are returning to South Africa permanently
then you may have the opportunity to get your car in duty free.

The problem lies in the fact that you will only know once you have brought the car back. (i.e. once your car has landed in SA and you start fighting with customs). They will not give you any pre approval, so you are not guaranteed of getting it in duty free. The risk lies squarely on your shoulders.

Things to consider:
• The duty free allowance is for one car only (per family)
• It is a mission, lots of paperwork and arguing
• The price of second hand cars in SA is meant to be decreasing dramatically - so before you embark on this mission do some homework as to replacement value of your car in SA
• Shipping your car home will cost between R10 000 and R20 000

Bottom line when asked "Would you do it again knowing the mission you went through?" A hesitant yes because of the saving, but strong reference to prices of second hand cars coming down in SA may soon undermine the yes.

I say: If you have more time than money go for it, but if you have more money than time then don't bother.
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