PRETORIA, The South African Revenue Service (SARS) will collect the Sugary Beverages Levy (SBL) from April 1, 2018, with the tax fixed at 2.1 cents per gram of the sugar content exceeding four grams per 100 milliliters, which means the first four grams per 100 ml are levy-free.

The SARS announced here Friday that the levy falls under the Rates and Monetary Amounts and Revenue Laws Amendment Act 2017, as passed by Parliament on Dec 5, 2017.

Part 7A of Schedule No.1 to the Customs and Excise Act, 1964, provides for a health promotion levy on sugary beverages which 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 source, said the SARS.

The SBL returns and payments can be submitted electronically through the SARS eFiling system and will also be accepted at Customs and Excise branches. Meanwhile, the licensing and registration of manufacturers of sugary beverages will take place from February 2018.

Only commercial manufacturers which produce sugary beverages with a total annual sugar content in excess of 500 kilogrammes per year need to be licensed and pay the SBL. Non-commercial producers below this threshold will be expected to register but will not be subject to the SBL.

The levy is part of the government's programme to prevent and control non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and assist in the prevention and control of obesity, said the SARS.

The revenue service will engage industry stakeholders during roadshows to guide them through the process. Dates for the roadshows will be published on the SARS website in January 2018. Information about the SBL is available on

Former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan tabled a proposal in the 2016 Budget for the government to introduce a tax on sugary beverages amid growing concerns in South Africa and globally regarding obesity. In July, the National Treasury published a policy paper and proposals on the taxation of sugar sweetened beverages for public comment.