Budget 2011: gov't to tax computer monitors - TechCentral

Budget 2011: gov’t to tax computer monitors

Mustek MD Hein Engelbrecht

Government is reintroducing a 7% ad valorem tax on imported computer monitors because many people, it says, are using them as television sets. The tax on monitors had been scrapped in 2004.

TV sets and monitors that include TV tuners attract ad valorem duties. But for the past seven years, no duties have applied to imported monitors (or any other computer equipment).

“Ad valorem excise duties on monitors were abolished in 2004 based on the assumption that they were used as computer screens,” according to documents accompanying finance minister Pravin Gordhan’s budget speech in parliament on Wednesday.

Ad valorem  duties on monitors will be reinstated at a flat rate of 7% with effect from 1 April.

Hein Engelbrecht, MD of computer assembler and IT distributor Mustek, says the net result of the change will be that the price of computer monitors will go up by 7%.

He says government may have made the change because consumers who subscribe to satellite TV services like MultiChoice’s DStv don’t require a TV tuner in their monitors to receive broadcasts. They only need a tuner if they wanted to watch free-to-air terrestrial channels.

Engelbrecht speculates that national treasury may have seen a decline in ad valorem duties on TV sets because people are buying monitors instead.

Mustek CEO David Kan says more information is required from the SA Revenue Service about how the duties will be applied and under which tariff codes.

However, Kan says there may be a legal loophole that allows computer monitors to be classified video monitors, allowing importers to earn a rebate on the new duties.  — Duncan McLeod, TechCentral


  1. Another Andrew on

    Seems like an excuse to get more tax… because “some” people are using monitors to watch TV, then all monitors need an advalorem duty? This is just a revenue opportunity, there is no reason other than a desire to bring in more taxes.

  2. Why target computer monitors? Rather tax set-top-boxes? Guess those living on welfare don’t buy computers!

  3. What is happening is as follows, importers have been bringing in monitors and paying no duties, they then fit tuners to these monitors and sell them as tvs. When you import a tv you need to pay a 35% duty (unless you manufacture the tv locally). Turning monitors into TVS is damaging to the SA economy as it puts sever strain on legitimate TV manufacturers who create thousands of jobs and operate within the law and pay advelorum tax as well. All SARS really need to do is stop those importers (some of the biggest companies in the world) from exploiting this loophole.

  4. Another Andrew on

    @Peter. Nonsense. For those manufacturers that would like to do this, the rebate for video monitors of more than 600 line resolution still exists. In any case it is illegal to import a monitor that is capable of having a tuner fitted as a Video Monitor or Computer Monitor.

    The *vast* majority of computer monitors are used for exactly that, computers. This is not about televisions, it is about getting more revenue.

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