The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has confirmed that it will begin to collect the Sugary Beverages Levy (SBL) from 1 April 2018.

Parliament finally adopted the taxation of sugary drinks early December 2017. This follows the 2016 budget speech during which the proposal to tax the sugar content of beverages was first tabled, and 18 months of debate thereafter.

The recent law provides for a health promotion levy on sugary beverages that 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 the source.

“Licensing and registration of manufacturers of sugary beverages will take place from February 2018,” said SARS.

“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 the government’s programme to prevent and control non-communicable disease (NCDs) and assist in the prevention and control of obesity,” it said.

Hogan Lovells legal experts have said that when taxes are implemented, South Africans can expect to pay approximately 11% more for sugary beverages.

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