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South Africa Tax: VAT / Customs exemption on imports used in FIFA World Cup

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has introduced a concession that allows an exemption from Value Added Tax (VAT) and Customs duties on certain items imported into the country for the 2010 FIFA World Cup (rebate item 413.00).

The concession is available to FIFA, FIFA subsidiaries, FIFA National Associations and FIFA Confederations, media representatives, commercial affiliates, merchandising partners, licensees, FIFA flagship store operators and designated service providers, as well as the host broadcaster, broadcasters and broadcast rights agencies. To obtain the concession under rebate item 413.00, qualifying persons must satisfy the following conditions:

- Register with SARS as an importer, exporter and rebate user (all qualifying persons); and
- Furnish SARS with proof of a contract and license with FIFA (all qualifying persons other than FIFA, its subsidiaries, National associations and confederations).

Foreign companies also may apply for registration. While applicants are not required to furnish security when applying for registration under the rebate item, rebate users will be required to demonstrate that the goods imported have been sold, consumed or used. Registrants will be required to keep and maintain proper records of all import and export transactions for at least two years. Imported goods that are not sold, consumed or used during the FIFA World Cup, must be:

- Cleared for home consumption (customs duty and VAT paid);
- Abandoned, destroyed or unconditionally donated to charity (prior permission must be obtained from SARS Customs); or
- Exported (subject to packing, sealing and export under Customs supervision).

Goods must be exported within 24 months after the date of the closing ceremony of the Championship in the case of FIFA and FIFA subsidiaries, and within 12 months after the date of the closing ceremony in the case of all other qualifying persons.

Customs duty and VAT will be payable immediately if South African Revenue Service (SARS) discovers that any imported goods have been dealt with in contravention of the provisions of the concession and penalties may be imposed (or criminal prosecution initiated).

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