The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has confirmed that it will collect the Sugary Beverages Levy (SBL) from 1 April 2018.
Following the 2016 budget speech during which the proposal to tax the sugar content of beverages was first tabled, and after 18 months of debate, parliament finally adopted the taxation of sugary drinks at the beginning of December 2017.
The new law provides for a health promotion levy on sugary beverages which have been manufactured in or imported into South Africa. Imported products will be taxed when they are cleared for home consumption and locally manufactured products will be taxed at source.
“Licensing and registration of manufacturers of sugary beverages will take place from February 2018,” Sars said.
“Only commercial manufacturers that produce sugary beverages with a total annual sugar content in excess of 500 kg per year need to be licensed and pay the SBL. Non-commercial producers below this threshold will be expected to register but will not be subject to the SBL.”
“The levy is fixed at 2.1 cents per gram of the sugar content that exceeds 4 grams per 100ml, which means the first 4 grams per 100ml are levy free. The levy is part of government’s programme to prevent and control non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and assist in the prevention and control of obesity,” it said.
Legal experts at law firm Hogan Lovells have said that South African consumers can expect to pay an additional 11% more for their sugary drinks, when the taxes are implemented.