SARS Customs requires all traders to migrate to RLA 

Customs recently sent out a publication requiring every existing importer, exporter, clearing agent, and licensed user to re-register on RLA. Here are some of the most common questions that we have been asked about RLA.

What is RLA?

In 2020 Customs updated their registration software to one that can speak to the SARS e-filing system. This new software system is called the Registration Licensing and Accreditation system, or RLA system for short. The RLA software will replace Customs’ old management software.

Who needs to re-register?

Every existing customs user that is registered on the old software system needs to re-register on the new RLA system. If you have been a customs client before April 2020 you will be registered on the old system and need to re-register. This includes:

  • All importers
  • All exporters
  • All users of trade agreements
  • All clearing agents
  • All transporters of bonded goods
  • All transporters crossing borders
  • All storage warehouses

Each service that you are registered for needs to be moved over one at a time. So, for example, if you are registered as an importer, an exporter, and a SADC exporter, then 3 registrations need to be migrated to RLA.

What happens if I do not re-register?

SARS has sent out a notice of intention to suspend the license of all traders who have not reregistered on RLA.

Are there any benefits to registering on the RLA platform?

Yes! RLA is a 100% online system that is linked to e-filing. Once registered on RLA any updates to your contact details (address, contact number), new registrations, or renewals can be done quickly and efficiently.

Customs requires contact details to be updated within 7 days of a change to not be liable for a penalty. Before RLA updates were processed at a Customs branch, which meant traveling, standing in queues, and manually processing paperwork. With the new RLA system, any documentation customs require can be uploaded online. RLA speaks to e-filing and can verify details by checking to see if it matches with data from SARS revenue. This saves processing time. Details that do not match with SARS revenue can be checked by internal customs staff.

Do I need to be registered on e-filing to migrate to RLA?

Yes. Since RLA speaks to e-filing and uses e-filing to verify the details captured at customs, all customs clients moving to RLA need to first be registered on e-filing. Being registered on e-filing also gives you the option to file your own tax returns, make payments to SARS, request a Tax Clearance Certificate and control who can access and work on your tax profiles (being income tax, VAT, PAYE, Customs, etc).

Do I need a registered representative on e-filing to migrate to RLA?

Yes, every e-filing user now needs to have a representative registered as their primary contact with SARS. This person will receive security communication from SARS, such as one-time pins (OTPs), and will control access to who is allowed to work on the e-filing platform. Read more on why SARS requires this and what being one entails here.

Let us make this easy for you!

We have a streamlined process to re-register you swiftly, smoothly and before the deadline for only R1700.

About the author

Tracy Venter

Tracy studied at Stellenbosch University and gained her initial experience in imports and exports through working for industry. After starting her own import business, and helping some friends do the same, she realised there was a need for reliable customs registration services. As a result, in 2011, Import Export License was born. Since then thousands of importers and exporters have been helped to obtain their import export licences, permits, specialised customs registrations and connect with Import Export License consultants for advice on importing, exporting, and other customs related matters.