How do I Legally Distill at Home in South Africa? - Part 2: Registration

How do I Legally Distill at Home in South Africa? - Part 2: Registration

Published : 29-01-2020 - Categories : Home Distilling , Legislation , Miscellaneous

PLEASE NOTE: This is the second Article of Three, dealing with the Process of Legal Home Distilling. Please read all three Articles for a full idea on how it works.   

Probably the most common question we get from clients visiting our store: Is it Legal to Distill at Home?

This is followed closely by the second most common question: How do I Register to Distill at Home?

There is a lot of information on this topic doing the rounds from different sources, so this article will attempt to clear away all the false and incorrect information out there, and give you the correct process to be a Legal Home Distiller.

DISCLAIMER: This article is based, not only on the relevant SARS Legislation (to be found in the SARS Rules) but is also the result of several meetings we have had with SARS Officials and the SARS EXCO - both as Distillique and SACDI. All information here is correct and verified as per these discussions and several submissions, HOWEVER, SARS does change their interpretation of these Rules and Regulations from time to time, and due to breakdowns in communication between higher levels and lower level SARS Offices, it does sometimes happen that officials on the ground does not have the same clarity or information. We are doing our best to rectify this situation, but for now, please be aware that the process will not always work the way it is supposed to work.  

How do I register as a Legal Home Distiller?

Registering for Legal Home Distilling has two parts - the same as getting your Drivers License.

Your Car needs Registration to be sure it is safe to use, road worthy, etc. and you need a License in order to drive the Car.

It is the same with Home Distilling. 

Your still needs to be registered, and you need to be registered.

The process that used to apply for Article 116 Registration (the Section of the Legislation that deals with the Manufacture of Excisable Goods solely for own use by the Manufacturer) relied on the individual filling out two forms - a DA104 to register the still, and a DA185 to register as an Article 116 Manufacturer.

This process changed in January 2019.

Now the process works as follows:

1. Obtain a Legal and Serialized Still (See Part 1 of the three Articles dealing with Legal Home Distilling)


2. Complete the DA185.

  1. The latest (Jan 2020)  DA185 document serves as a cover sheet for the application
  2. You need to provide Personal Identification, Contact Details, Address, Tax Details, Banking Details, etc.
  3. You also need to indicate what you are registering for, by ticking the following two boxes:




3. The two boxes ticked refers too two separate documents, referred too as Annexures, both of which need to be filled out.

  1. The completed DA185.4A15 – MANUFACTURER OF EXCISABLE GOODS SOLELY FOR OWN USE BY THE MANUFACTURER Annexure, deals with what you intend to manufacture, how much and for what purpose.
  2. The complete DA185.4B12 – TO OWN, POSSESS OR KEEP STILLS Annexure, deals with the Still or Stills you own - their registration numbers, size, type, material, supplier, etc.


4. Along with the three documents you filled out (the DA185, DA185.4A15 and DA185.4B12 Annexures) you need to provide backing documents. The required documents are:

i. One of the following documents to prove bank details i.e. the account holder’s name, bank account number and bank branch code:

  1. An original bank statement or a legible certified copy of an original bank statement;
  2. An original letter from the bank; or
  3. An original auto bank statement.   

ii. Original or certified copies of the following documents (whichever is relevant):

  1. Municipal account to confirm the address details, lease agreement in case of rental or police affidavit;
  2. Detailed site plan of where the still will be used (can be a rough drawn sketch, not necessarily required but recommended to ensure fast processing of application)
  3. VAT, IT, PAYE, SDL or UIF letters from SARS to confirm revenue registration details (or a police affidavit stating you are not registered for Tax in the case of a Student, etc.);
  4. A fixed telephone line operator’s and/or cell phone account to confirm contact details;
  5. Copy of Identity/passport documents of the individual that is applying
  6. Pictures of the still(s) being registered  

 iii. Any other information the official may request (but there should not be any other requests)


Is there a cost involved for Registering as a Home Distiller?

Up to 2018 the cost for Registering was R1 per year, but currently there is no cost involved for Home Distiller registration.


Do I need to renew my Registration as a Home Distiller?

Up to 2018, registrations were only valid for 1 Year, and you needed to renew the Registration Annually. Under the new process, a registration is valid for three years.


Where do I do my Registration?

You should be able to hand in your paperwork at any SARS Office that has an Excise Desk. Please note this falls under EXCISE and not normal SARS operations. Technically you also do not need to hand it in at your local SARS office, but it has happened that other offices have referred applicants to their local SARS office and refused to assist them. Our advice is therefore to try your local SARS office first, and if they are unable to assist you, you have grounds to go to an Office with more staff more experienced in this registration.

NOTE: It is not always a case of unwillingness to assist. It is just that this is not a registration they deal with on a daily basis, hence some staff members are just not aware of it, or how to deal with it.


Can Distillique do my Registration for me?

Unfortunately not.

When you buy your still from us, we ensure your details are reported to SARS so that you CAN register the still, by linking your details to the Still Serial Number, and adding you to our Still Records which is submitted to SARS on a monthly basis. 

The actual Registration itself however, needs to be linked to you as an Individual (hence your Identity Document is required) and you need to be verified as a real person and the right person in order to do the registration.


Do I need to Register before I can buy a Still?

No. Registration follows still purchase, as we can only assign a Serial Number to you once you have purchased the still. After you have the Serial Number and Still in your possession, you can register the still and yourself.


What if I have more than one Still?

The DA185.4B12 Annexure allows for the registration of multiple stills at the same time. If you however already own a registered still, and you purchase an additional still, you need to go register that still separately (or with your existing still(s) upon their renewal).


Do I really need to do all of this?


It is a legal requirement.


116.01 (a) A manufacturer of excisable goods who manufactures such goods solely for the purpose of own use by that manufacturer, as contemplated in section 116, must–

  1. apply on form DA 185 and the appropriate annexure for registration in terms of section 59A and the rules thereto; and
  2. for purposes of distillation, apply on form DA 185 and the appropriate annexure for a licence to own, possess or keep a still in terms of section 63 and the rules thereto.


If you don't, severe penalties can be applied to you (see Part 1 of "How do I legally Distill at Home in South Africa?").


Is that it? Am I now Legal?

Yes and no.

You are now registered, but as with a Motor Vehicle, just because you have the Vehicle Registration and your License, doesn't mean you can ignore the Rules of the Road.

As a Legal Home Distiller, that means you need to keep Records, which is what we discuss in Part 3 of this three part Article.

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