Zimra grants car importers duty grace period

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THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has extended a two-week grace period to importers who under-declared duty on motor vehicles, as the tax collector adopts moral suasion as a first option to promote compliance.

Officials say Treasury loses hundreds of millions of dollars in potential revenue through tax evasion, under-invoicing and illicit financial flows.

The grace period, which lapses next month, comes at a time the vehicle import bill dropped by 73% to US$47.5 million during the first half of the year from US$181.3 million generated during the same period last year, according to Zimra statistics.

The decline was attributed to Statutory Instrument (SI) 89 of 2021, which banned the importation of second-hand vehicles that are 10 years and older. SI 89 of 2021 was promulgated on 2 April 2021 and in the same month the number of imported cars declined by 2 034 from 5 100 in March 2021.

Zimra said people in possession of vehicles which were irregularly cleared can approach Zimra to work out payment plans not exceeding three months.

“The irregular cases could be of fraudulently registered vehicles, smuggled, undervalued vehicles, offences relating to temporary importation of vehicles, or any other Customs offence relating to vehicles,” a notice by Zimra reads.

“. . . companies or such other entities who may be in possession of vehicles that were not properly cleared through Zimra, to approach their nearest Zimra Regional Office to regularise such clearances.

“If such persons, with the vehicles so described above, contact Zimra offices not later than Monday 8 November 2021, and make acceptable payment arrangements, not exceeding three months, penalties will be waived. What will remain due and payable are the full duties or additional duties due, and interest. Persons who wish to take advantage of this rare window period should contact the following offices for appointments to be made, and their cases reviewed.”

The authority has previously been failing to issue registration books and number plates, which were only made available at the beginning of this month.

“The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) is advising members of the public who in recent months imported motor vehicles and failed to get registration books and number plates, that registration books and vehicle number plates for newly imported vehicles are now in stock,” the tax collector said.

“Clients who wish to acquire motor vehicle registration books and number plates should approach the above Zimra offices and submit the requisite documents and payments. The public is also advised that the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara), will have a temporary service counter at the Zimra office based at Kurima House, George Silundika Avenue, between 3rd and 4th Street for vehicle licensing, thereby bringing additional convenience to clients.”

Source – thenewshawks