TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING

Business Day - Business Law and Tax Review - - BUSINESS LAW & TAX REVIEW -

fol­lowed by gov­ern­ing rules, with com­ments re­quested and con­sid­ered and fi­nal ver­sions drafted — which must in­clude the of­fi­cial im­ple­men­ta­tion date — and pub­lished by the com­mis­sioner of SARS.

Af­ter Au­gust 2017, which is the ap­prox­i­mate pub­lish­ing date of the fi­nal gov­ern­ing rules, af­fected en­ti­ties will need time to pre­pare their busi­nesses for all com­pli­ance re­quire­ments and this could sup­pos­edly take place un­til the end of 2017.

There are a num­ber of ba­sic as­pects that af­fected en­ti­ties will pre­sum­ably have to pre­pare for or get in place be­fore they may legally im­port and/or man­u­fac­ture an ex­cis­able product and which, in our ex­pe­ri­ence, of­ten take con­sid­er­able time fi­nalise. Th­ese as­pects in­clude:

Prepa­ra­tion of premises/build­ings in terms of spe­cific phys­i­cal ware­house re­quire­ments;

Ar­range­ments for surety with a fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion;

Prepa­ra­tion of sup­port­ing doc­u­ments for li­cens­ing (im­porter, ex­porter and ware­house) ap­pli­ca­tions to SARS;

Devel­op­ment or adap­ta­tion of en­ter­prise re­source man­age­ment sys­tems to cater for proper record­ing of ex­cis­able product move­ment, ac­quit­tal and levy li­a­bil­ity in terms of spe­cific ex­cise ac­count­ing pre­scrip­tions (in­clud­ing ware­house reg­is­ters); and

Cus­toms and ex­cise re­lated train­ing and ed­u­ca­tion of des­ig­nated per­son­nel.

Mean­while, from early 2018 on­wards, SARS will have to con­sider ac­tual li­cens­ing ap­pli­ca­tions from im­porters and lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ers of sugar-sweet­ened bev­er­ages.

In our ex­pe­ri­ence, a ware­house li­cens­ing ap­pli­ca­tion takes on av­er­age four months (of­ten up to six months) for SARS to fi­nalise. to

Con­cerns are grow­ing glob­ally re­gard­ing obe­sity caused by an over­con­sump­tion of sugar, with a Trea­sury state­ment in July stat­ing that obe­sity is a ma­jor risk fac­tor in de­vel­op­ing non­com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases such as heart dis­eases, di­a­betes and some can­cers.

Non­com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases are seen as the lead­ing causes of mor­tal­ity glob­ally, re­sult­ing in more deaths than all other causes com­bined; the world’s low- and mid­dle-in­come pop­u­la­tions are the most af­fected.

It is be­lieved taxes on foods high in sugar are po­ten­tially a cost-ef­fec­tive strat­egy to ad­dress diet-re­lated dis­eases. Fin­land, France, Hun­gary, Ire­land, Mex­ico, Mau­ri­tius and Nor­way have all levied taxes on sugar-sweet­ened bev­er­ages. Other coun­tries, such the UK, Thai­land and Aus­tralia, have an­nounced their in­ten­tion to in­tro­duce such taxes as part of a pack­age of mea­sures to help deal with the ex­ces­sive in­take of added sug­ars.

How­ever, this is a ma­jor ini­tia­tive with myr­iad lay­ers, and more re­al­is­tic time­lines and col­lec­tion rules will be needed.

Taxes on foods high in sugar are po­ten­tially a cost-ef­fec­tive strat­egy to ad­dress diet-re­lated dis­eases

Pic­ture: iSTOCK

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