I thought I would document my experience with buying and importing an air rifle (Field Target) from overseas (and I know what you thinking, his talking about Robben island; no this one actually comes from the Czech Republic).
The first week or so I went out online browsing the interwebs to see which online store is the most accessible for us South African’s. I made some enquiries locally and internationally to get a better idea of the value in purchasing a rifle locally or abroad. Locally the prices varied from acceptable to absurd; almost three times the price locally than what it would cost to import it. International online retailers; the prices for the rifles were more or less stable.
I initially approached and FT competitor and his online store in Germany but there were some German custom issues and we decided not to go ahead with the transaction. Then I paid a visit to a certain Olympic 50m prone gold medal winner’s site in the Czech republic. I could have not asked for a simpler transaction. Whenever he emails me I read it back with a very thick Russian accent; it just feel natural to do so lol. His site is good, not very flashy but there is a ton of items. He basically said that I should choose what I can’t, copy the hyperlink of the items and email it to him and he will arrange the my account with him and the secure payment link that I can use. Note that the 24% Euro VAT is deducted from the price as this is normally the sale price on the website and does not apply to items outside the EU.
The link was sent the next day to my email address, I confirmed the items and paid the sum. Note, if you paying with a credit card there is a 2% charge that the credit card company charges. Over the next few days Mr Varga was away at a shooting competition but advise he would place my order for the rifle so that once he comes back he could ship it immediately; by the way he got first place and that meet. Four days later my rifle shipped from the Czech republic and I got an international call from the couriers to confirm my details and the send me the master documents (Waybill etc.) as well.
Now this is where I got to learn a lot about what the process is one should follow. The rifle took a week to get here via Turkish airlines to CPT international airport. The courier was only responsible for transport up to CPT international is this case. I need to get the rifle from customs but how?...well as you can see I had a few questions. The company that does the Turkish airlines freight advised me what to do:
- Apply for an iTac permit preferably before you get the rifle as you going to wait for it. You don’t pay for it and it took me less than 24hrs to get one (Actually the guy was quite efficient). There is one specific person that deals with the importing of arms at iTac. The document you need is the “Application for permit for import good for personal use” NOT the Annexure version. Complete your personal details but the important sections are as follows:
- Full tariff heading and description – The tariff is used to categorise the items; for air rifles it is as follows, “93040020” and description “air rifle”. Note, this tariff is duty free so only VAT will be charged for at customs.
- Quantity required Units/KG/Litres– Although you only importing one, make this “5” as the permit is valid for a year and you might intend importing another and the amount just gets deducted from the Rand value in block 12. So for example, if the rifle is R10 000.00 you should make block 12 on the form, R50 000.00. That mean that the permit allows you to import during the course of 1 year, 5 air rifles to the value of R50 000.00
- Indicate new/used good “Y”
- Will currency be transferred “Y”
- Country of Origin - “Czech Republic” in my case
- Customs clearance office “CPT International airport”
- And a copy of your ID, no matter how sketchy your ID photo looks.
- Send the form and copy of your ID to Ernest Roman at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is the only person that deals with air rifle import permits at iTac. He will then email you your iTac permit
- Once your package arrives the cargo service will notify you and it will be put in storage. The longer it is in storage the more your storage fee will be, so keep act quickly.
- For items above R500, customs will advise you to use a clearing agent but this is not a written rule, but this is only advisory. In my case the clearing agent quoted me for VAT, duty(which does not apply to tariff 93040020 ) and a couple of other admin related charges that ended up to one huge amount(double the VAT amount) which I was not willing to pay. All I did was take my invoice, Waybill, iTac permit and a copy of my bank statement to the holding/cargo company at CPT international and collected the holding papers.
- Then once you have the holding papers, go to customs (which at CPT international is opposite each other) with all the docs. There they will work out the VAT for you to pay. In my case, because the amount was so high, the do not accept cash or cards, I had to get a bank guaranteed cheque. Make sure that the bank makes it out to South African Revenue Service..without a ‘S’ at the end!!!!
- Once you pay the VAT you will received the release papers and collect your package at the holding/cargo company. In my case there was a holding fee of around R350.
Thanks Ghost for the valuable information!
I am busy trying to import an Airsoft rifle from Evike.com (They use UPS to ship the goods). On the ITAC permit application I noticed that they require an "Importer Customs Code No". Did you apply for an importer's code prior to completing the ITAC permit application or did you just leave the space bank?
Thanks for your help!
You can use 70707070 as the importers code. That is what I used. This was a few years ago so not sure if anything has changed since then. A bit more info from the SARS website:
Registration code number 70707070 may be used by a person that wishes to import or export goods in South Africa in instances where the person is not registered as an importer or exporter with SARS only if the following requirements are met:
- The goods that are to be imported or exported have a value of less than R50 000,00 (Fifty Thousand Rand) per consignment, subject to a limitation of three such consignments per calendar year;
- The goods are declared for home consumption (consumption or use in South Africa); temporary export or export;
- The importer or exporter must be a natural person located in South Africa; and
- The importer or exporter must reflect his identity number or taxpayer reference number in the field provided in the Customs declaration form.
Even though i am not in SA anymore. One thing to remember before you import a rifle.
Who will provide the backup and support, who holds spares. There is nothing worse than having a bling rifle that does not work because you do not have spare parts or the importer wants to charge you for spare parts that would normally be free.