NRCS levy returns: What you need to know

Importers and manufacturers of products falling with the scope of the National Regulator of Compulsory Standards (NRCS) technical regulations are required by law to submit levy returns. Despite this requirement, many importers often find out about levy returns under unpleasant circumstances. This is either during a random inspection by NRCS officials or after a container is detained by Customs because a Letter of Authority (LOA) could not be presented.

What is an NRCS levy return?

A levy return is an amount payable to NRCS based on the quantities imported or manufactured by a specific company. This applies only to products falling within the ambit of NRCS technical regulations. Levy amounts differ by product category and are paid per unit. For example R1.50 per unit or for more than R5 for 10 units.

Under what circumstances are levy returns submitted to NRCS?

Levy returns are submitted if:

1) If your company imported or manufactured products falling within the scope of NRCS technical regulations.

2) If your company did not import or manufacture products falling within the scope of NRCS regulations, nil levy return has to be submitted.

Companies that are no longer importing or manufacturing products falling within the scope of NRCS  regulations, have to indicate this in writing.

What are the consequences of not submitting levy returns?

Not submitting levy returns can have negative consequences. Firstly, it can delay the issuing of your company LOA’s. In some cases, you will be requested to submit levy returns before an LOA can be issued.

Sections 6 and 7 of the NRCS Act 2008 empower the NRCS to estimate quantities imported or manufactured and hold the levy payer liable.

“(6) If a levy payer fails to submit the return referred to in sub regulations (2) or (3) to the National regulator, or submits inaccurate return, The CEO may estimate the manufactured, built or imported amounts of commodities or products or determine the period of services provided, to a maximum of the last 5 years, and hold the levy payer liable for the calculated in accordance with the estimate: provided that the payment of a levy payment of a levy on the basis of an estimate shall not absolve the levy payer from settling in full any additional amount that may be due to the National regulator.

(7) An estimate issued in terms of sub-regulation(6) shall for the purpose of court proceedings be prima facie proof of a levy due and unpaid.”

When are levy returns submitted?

Levy returns are submitted twice every year for the periods:

1) 1 January – 30 June. The submission deadline for the period is 31 July. If you have not submitted a levy return for this period, it means your levy returns are not up to date.

2) 1 July – 31 December. The submission deadline is 31 January each year.

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