When purchasing a new vehicle for a driver or passenger with a disability, they may qualify for the disability rebate. Caroline Rule helps us understand the process.
What is the disability rebate?
This is a rebate of the import duties of an imported vehicle that is allowed for persons with disabilities. It is a significant saving and the intention is to assists with covering the costs of the adaptations that will be required.
It comes with a lot of red tape and paperwork, so it’s important to understand how the process works.
Process involved when purchasing a Caddy
Since the Caddy is such a popular and versatile vehicle for the disability sector, this article is a guide on the process that is involved when purchasing a Caddy.
The Caddy is a fully imported vehicle and therefore qualifies for the maximum rebate amount. In 2020, this percentage is approximately 15% of the retail value of the vehicle however this gets re-evaluated by SARS on an annual basis. Therefore, with an automatic Caddy costing between R450 000 – R530 000, the rebate amount or the saving which goes to the customer will be equal to approximately R75 000 – R80 000.
Your starting point is to establish that the Caddy is the best vehicle for your requirements because as part of your application you will need to motivate why you want to purchase the imported Caddy and not a locally-made vehicle.
This is an easy motivation because the Caddy is perfect in so many ways for passengers with disabilities or people needing to transport a wheelchair. Aspects that you can include in your motivation (depending on your disability) are features such as:
- It is available in automatic so can be adapted for hand controls or left foot pedal.
- The seat height is perfect for standing transfers.
- The internal space for transporting wheelchairs and equipment along with passengers.
- It is one of the only vehicles in SA that has been certified to have the lowered floor conversion done and can be registered on the eNatis system with this conversion.
Contact your local dealer to get a quotation for the Caddy, a brochure demonstrating the features of the Caddy and a copy of the homologation certificate (certifying the product meets regulatory standards and specifications, such as safety and technical requirements) or homologation certification number.
Next, you need to decide what adaptations you need to make in relation to your disability. Only certain adaptations qualify for the rebate and these can be for either a driver or a passenger with a disability. The following adaptations qualify:
- Hand controls, electronic controls, brake and accelerator pedal swapped around, brake and accelerator pedal extended.
- The vehicle must be structurally adapted, such as lowering the floor of the vehicle.
- Ramps or a platform lift to allow access into the vehicle.
- Restraints to secure the wheelchair while being transported.
- Railings that need to be fitted to the door and sides of the vehicle for the disabled person to hold onto.
- Lifting devices, such as a hoist or Turny seat, to assist with lifting the disabled person into and out of the vehicle.
- The vehicle is fitted with medical equipment, such as oxygen, to allow a disabled person to be transported.
- New products on the market may need to be specially motivated.
Should somebody be able to drive an automatic car and only require a steering spinner; that is not considered an adaptation that would qualify for a rebate. It is important that the adaptation must be structural, so, for example, fitting only a wheelchair hoist to the vehicle would not be considered sufficient on its own. For more details go to auto-mobility/rebate-procedure/
To qualify for the disability rebate, you need to prove your identity and that you have a disability. This will require a letter from your doctor or therapist as well as a visit to an adjudication panel who need to validate that you are in fact disabled.
This can be arranged through the NCPD when you lodge your application. Drivers need to include their license and passengers need to provide a declaration for a designated driver and include their ID.
The original documents need to be sent to NCPD (contact person Edwina Ludick – 011 452 2774, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Private Bag X10041
82 Andries Pretorius Street
NCPD has a fee of R500 for applications for vehicles up to R500 000 and R1000 for vehicle over R500 000.
Keep copies of all documents throughout this process.
NCPD then lodge the application with the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (ITAC). Only once the individual has received their import permit back from ITAC, may they sign the offer to purchase.
The dealer then sends the purchase application to Volkswagen South Africa (VWSA) who will identify a suitable vehicle in bond (i.e. a vehicle that has not yet been cleared by customs) or if no vehicle is available, will place an order for a new vehicle.
Once the new vehicle arrives at customs, VWSA issues a Customs Clearance notification related to that specific vehicle and the lodge a provisional payment with customs.
NCPD lodges application wtih ITAC.
The customer will be invoiced for the full amount of the vehicle (i.e. with the rebate amount included). Once the vehicle has been paid in full, it will be issued to the customer who then needs to take it to the conversion company to have the adaptations fitted. These must comply with the original quotation. The vehicle must be taken to the nearest SARS office within three months of the date of importation for the vehicle to be inspected.
The vehicle must be presented to the nearest controller of Customs and Excise for inspection, together with all the relevant documents used at the time of clearance, including a copy of the registration certificate and a copy of the provisional payment lodged to cover the duty.
A list of Customs and Excise offices is available at: www.sars.gov.za. Enquiries can be made at SARS Contact Centre on 0800 00 7277.
Once the vehicle is cleared, SARS will issue an official letter that the adaption of the vehicle qualifies for a rebate of duty. This must be given to the dealer so that VWSA can liquidate the provisional payment with customs and then this credit can be passed onto the customer via the dealer. This usually takes between 6-8 weeks for the refund to be cleared.
Here is a summary of steps 1 to 5
- Choose your vehicle and be able to justify your choice.
- Write motivation.
- Get quotation, brochure and homologation certificate from dealer.
- Decide on your adaptations and which company is going to fit these.
- Get a written quotation.
- Download and complete application forms.
- Provide Doctor’s letter, copy of ID and driving licence/learner licence or declaration for designated driver.
- Send documents to NCPD and pay lodging fee.
- Visit adjudication.
- Once the permit has been received, then sign the offer to purchase and give the permit to the dealer.