01 Jun 2020

SARS can be stopped

by Freek van Rooyen, Partner, Johannesburg,

SARS issued a letter demand, demanding payment of an amount of R1 017 351 881.32. To stop SARS from commencing with collection and/or enforcement steps pending the attack on the decisions embodied in the demand, PetroSA approached the High Court on an urgent basis for an interim interdict during the lock down period. The dispute on the merits centres on an item determination in terms of section 47(9)(a)(bb) of the Customs and Excise Act 91 of 1964 (“the Act”) refusing set off in respect of the export of fuel levy goods as defined in section 1 of the Act from an unlicensed depot i.e. Tarlton and declaratory relief on a practice generally prevailing in the oil industry allowing for exports from Tarlton.

The urgent application was argued on 19 May 2020 and judgment was handed down (01 June 2020) and the interim interdict was granted stopping SARS from taking any enforcement and/or collection steps pending the fight on the merits. In the judgment the requirements of an interim interdict were re-iterated to be:

  • Requirement of a prima facie right;
  • Irreparable harm;
  • Balance of convenience; and
  • No alternative remedy.

The judge ruled that PetroSA discharged the onus of meeting the requirements for an interim interdict. The high court ruled in favor of PetroSA and SARS is interdicted from taking any enforcement and/or collection steps pending the outcome on the merits of the dispute.

DOWNLOAD a copy of the Judgement