Virusha Subban

Virusha Subban

Johannesburg, South Africa
T: +27 11 669 9383
  • Overview
  • Experience
  • Publications & Insights


Virusha Subban is a partner in our Johannesburg office Tax Practice.

She specialises in customs and excise and international trade. She advises clients on how to structure their business operations from a customs and excise duty perspective. Her expertise extends to all customs-related risks in the context of cross-border transactions. She also conducts customs reviews and health checks and provides training to companies that wish to avert customs and excise risk.

Virusha is a past vice-chairperson of the SAICA Customs Sub-committee.

She has BA(Law) and LLB degrees from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, an LLM from the University of South Africa and a Postgraduate Certificate in International Tax from the University of Pretoria.

Specialist Services

Relevant Experience

She has also made recommendations on legislative amendments and has drafted proposed amendments. With the current overhaul of the Customs legislation in South Africa, Virusha was consulted to provide comment on the first draft Customs Bills on a confidential basis 18 months prior to release for public comment. Due to her insight in this very specialized area of tax law, she was consulted to provide training to National Treasury with regard to the new Customs legislation.

Virusha also advises on the following aspects:

  • All regulatory aspects of importing and exporting
  • Tariff classification disputes
  • Valuation disputes
  • Rules of origin
  • Diesel rebates
  • APDP and other incentive schemes
  • Audits, detentions; seizures and liens placed by SARS
  • SARS’ demands for duties; penalties; interest and forfeiture amounts
  • Licensing and registration with SARS and ITAC
  • Obtaining of import permits from ITAC
  • Claiming of refunds and drawbacks
  • Applications for reduction of import duty
  • Applications for creation of rebate provisions to import goods duty free into SA
  • Advice on anti-dumping, countervailing and safeguard measures
  • Customs duty implications of the payment of royalties; license fees and distribution rights fees relating to imported goods

Regularly quoted in the press, Virusha has authored a column specially dedicated to Customs and Excise which featured in Business Law & Tax Review which is a monthly publication within Business Day.

Seminal matters

  • Advising key industry players on the proposed taxation of sugar sweetened beverages.
  • Lead lawyer in a ZAR 1 billion excise dispute with SARS.

Signature Matters


  • Chambers and Partners, 2018 ranked Virusha in Band 2 for Tax: Indirect Tax.
  • Rated in Band 3 for Indirect Tax by Chambers and Partners
  • Listed in International Tax Review’s Women In Tax Leaders Guide for 2015, 2016 and 2017.
  • Rated as a leader by Chambers Global (2016).
  • Winner of Client Choice Guide Award (2015) in association with Lexology and International Law Office.
  • Winner of Client Choice Guide Award (2014) in association with Lexology and International Law Office.
  • Rated as a leader in indirect tax by International Tax Review 2012, 2013, 2016 and 2017 (South Africa).

“Trade and customs expert Virusha Subban is ‘a fantastic lawyer’.” Legal 500

Virusha Subban has considerable expertise in indirect tax matters, particularly in the customs and excise arena. She is acknowledged by clients and peers alike as being “hands-on and very knowledgeable.” Chambers and Partners 2018

Widely admired as a “very experienced” practitioner, Virusha Subban is acknowledged by peers for her competency in the “very specialised area” of indirect tax. She is well regarded for her work in cross-border trade matters. – Chambers and Partners 2017

Publications & Insights