Sugary Beverages Levy tax: What you need to know

Sugary Beverages
29 Mar 2018

On 1 April 2018, the Sugary Beverages Levy (“SBL”) will be implemented in South Africa as part of the new Health Promotion Levy and will be administered and collected by the South African Revenue Services (“SARS”).

The SBL will apply to Sugary Beverages that are listed in the Customs and Excise Act 1964 read with Section A of Part 7 of Schedule No.1, and will be calculated at a rate of 2.1 cents per gram of sugar content that exceeds 4 grams per 100ml beverage. However, the first 4 grams of sugar per 100ml beverage is levy free.

Sugary Beverages produced by commercial manufacturers with a total annual sugar content in excess of 500kg per year need to be licensed and are liable to pay the SBL. Non-commercial manufacturers are required to register with SARS but will not be subject to the SBL.

The sugar content of Sugary Beverages liable for the SBL, is calculated on:

  • the sugar content stated on the labelling;
  • the sugar content indicated on a test report obtained and retained from a testing laboratory recognised by the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications of South Africa; or
  • the deemed sugar content of the Sugary Beverage that is assumed to constitute 20 grams per 100ml.

However, products that contain only intrinsic sugars, that is natural sugar such as unsweetened milk and 100% fruit or vegetable juices are exempt from paying the SBL.

Manufacturers and importers of Sugary Beverages may also apply for a specific tariff determination from SARS to determine whether a particular product is subject to the SBL.

See also: Proposed “sin” tax on sugar sweetened beverages

(This article is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. For more information on the topic, please contact the author/s or the relevant provider.)
Yashika Rowjee

Yashika Rowjee is a candidate attorney at Eversheds Sutherland. Read more about Yashika Rowjee

Greg Shapiro

Greg Shapiro is a partner in Eversheds Sutherland's commercial group. He specialises in corporate and commercial, media, telecommunications and IT law. During the course of his experience Greg has drafted... Read more about Greg Shapiro


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