If you have air travel plans for the holidays, you may want to brace yourself for some extra admin, thanks to everyone’s favourite – the tax man.
The South African Revenue Service (SARS) we all know and love at the helm of all things tax required, has recently announced the induction of a new travel pass, an online declaration of sorts, just in time for Christmas…
There has been minimal prior communication regarding this announcement, but here’s what we know so far:
It’s airport official
SARS has launched the new ‘travel pass’ in November, at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport, but the travel pass will apply to all passengers entering and leaving the country.
The ‘travel pass’ will be used as an online system to declare goods, and pay taxes. The new ‘traveller declaration’ collects travel information and returns a traveller pass to you via email.
CEO of the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA), David Frost says:
“South Africa will be introducing an online travel declaration to simplify passenger movement at South African airports. The new system requires all travellers, including South African citizens and residents, children, and infants, leaving or entering South Africa by air to complete and submit an online traveller declaration, as well as receive a traveller pass before they travel.”
The practical details on how the process will work, as well as what the benefits or implications of this new ‘traveler pass’ is, is still unknown.
Business Insider reported:
“Nobody, including the government, knows how it will work.”
This announcement comes just in time to meet international guests coming and leaving for the holidays. On the other hand, there’s no hiding the price hike in flights this year, due to the limited number of airlines flying domestic routes in South Africa.
Travel associations, like SATSA have stated:
“The decision to launch this untested system at the start of South Africa’s summer holiday season has also been heavily criticised.”
After the pandemic put a dampen on South Africa’s tourism industry, travel-focused businesses are hesitant when it comes to government-led initiatives. Programs such as E-visas and airport biometric systems have been tried and tested already, and this new ‘travel pass’ is already causing nerves for travel businesses.
SARS believes this new system will streamline passenger movement at South African airports throughout the country.
Is it in effect?
Frost has requested the pass’ launch date to be pushed out from 1 November, but there has been no further public communication regarding the matter, and we don’t know if O.R Tambo has implemented the pass already.
SARS also mentioned that this new online ‘South African Traveller Declaration’ system will be implemented by other international airports by the first quarter of 2023.
Featured Image: Pexels