So what exactly is a CCN or Customs Client Number? How does it apply to me and my business and do I need one if I am importing goods into South Africa ?
A CCN or a Customs Client Number is an Importers Code. Any person or business in South Africa wanting to import goods, must register as an importer with the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and apply for an Importers Code or CCN.
If you intend to import products into South Africa, then you will need to apply for a customs number. A Customs Client Number or CCN is used whenever you make import payments and clear goods through customs. The Customs Client Number (CCN) must be reported on all import transactions.
How do I apply for a Customs Client Number?
Only registered businesses can apply for an Importers Code. To obtain a CCN, you will first need to register a new business with CIPC. Once you have formed a registered business, you can apply for an importers code through the SARS website or by visiting one of the SARS offices directly. This option may no longer be possible due to COVID-19. You will need to complete the following forms:
Once you have completed all the necessary application forms, you will need forward them to the nearest Customs Office along with your supporting documentation. On receipt of the documentation, SARS will issue you with a Customs and Excise client code. In most instances import permits are issued within five working days.
Information needed to apply for a CCN
In order to apply for a CCN number, you must be over the age of 18, have a permanent address in South Africa and be in a position to supply the following documentation:
- Proof of address.
- Certified copy of ID.
- Certified copy of company registration.
- Certified copies of VAT, IT, PAYE, SDL, and UIF letters from SARS.
- Certified copy of cellphone or landline account.
- Original or certified copy of bank statement confirming account holder’s name.
- Original letter from bank on a letterhead or auto bank statement.
Can I Import goods into South Africa without a Customs Client Number?
No, without a valid Importers Code, you will only be able to import products into South Africa in your personal capacity. As an individual you will only be able to import up to three consignments per year, providing the value of each shipment is below R 50,000.
Can I make International Payments without a CCN?
No, if you are importing goods and need to make an import or advance payment, then you will require a valid CCN to complete your international payment. In most cases you will also be required to submit the original Commercial Invoice along with all the relevant import documentation. The supporting documentation required to transfer funds depends on the type of international payment you are making.
When the goods are received, all original bills of entry must be sent to your Foreign Exchange provider together with the original invoice from the clearance agent. This includes the Bill of Entry, Air Waybill (air freight) or Bill of Lading (sea freight), Customs Release Notification (SARS) and the Commercial Invoice. These four documents must be handed in as proof that the goods paid for were received and have actually entered the country.