What’s that annoying thing that’s said when people want you to cough up more money? “You gotta pay to play.” Apparently that doesn’t sit well with some people, including this tax avoiding LaFerrari owner.
According to Fin24, they reported that a Ferrari LaFerrari, the hybrid hypercar limited to 499 examples, was once brought into South Africa back in 2014. The South Africa Revenue Service (SARS, really?!) has held the car for three years because the owner failed to pay the import taxes and fees on the car:
When it was first brought into the country, the owner failed to follow correct import procedures including paying the necessary customs duties and VAT. As a result, the vehicle stayed in a bonded warehouse for three years because the owner could not finalise the required customs processes.
Fast forward three years later to February 2017, the owner submits an export declaration to take the car to the Democratic Republic of Congo through the Beitbridge border post. I’m not sure if you know your geography well but here’s a handy dandy chart for your easy learning:
So this all looks fine so far. “You don’t want to pay the border tax to drive your car in South Africa, and take it to the Democratic Republic of Congo instead? That’s fine with us…” Except this is the point of the story where it gets all scummy. According to SARS:
“A day later (after the export declaration), there was an attempt to have the vehicle return to South Africa through the same border post.”
The vehicle has been detained and a letter of intent was issued to the owner as part of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act No 3 of 2000 to enable them to make representation to SARS.
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So the owner clearly wanted to keep and use the car in South Africa. Their bold plot, which took three years to plan apparently, was to extricate the car from border customs to take it to the DRC, only to turn around and bring it back into South Africa through the same border. Perhaps this plan will work if it was a 1997 Honda Civic, where the sheer paperwork and bureaucratic nonsense aren’t worth the effort. The odds of the border customs agent not recognizing the incoming Honda Civic was THE SAME one that just left the border the day before is probably very high. But this is the Ferrari LaFerrari, a car so good it has been named twice. It’s so rare that no one in their right mind would think they’d see two LaFerraris back to back and not think they’re the SAME EXACT ONE.
Carbuzz has looked into some of the laws in this case and the fate of the LaFerrari does not look good:
Should the owner not be able to justify the import of the car, it will be taken away and crushed into a cube. Another problem for the LaFerrari owner is that as with all LaFerraris, it’s left hand drive. And since around 2004, importing LHD cars into South Africa is an illegal offense, punishable by death (i.e. the car will be crushed). In South Africa, the LaFerrari is worth around R40 million, or around $3.1 million.
So it looks like by avoiding to pay the customs fees and taxes, the owner is going to lose a very rare car and several millions of dollars. The rest of the world will have to live with one less LaFerrari in its existence, if the owner can’t come up with a good defense for what exactly he was trying to do.