by Mutimba Musonda in Zambia
There are many challenges that come with importing a used car to Zambia, from finding the right car to making sure the shipping process goes smoothly. Unfortunately, as a landlocked nation in the southern region of Africa, Zambia happens to have one of the highest costs of importation due to lack of direct access to ports.
Distance is also another cost factor, as the nearest port is Dar es Salaam in Tanzania while other options are in Mozambique, Durban in South Africa, and Namibia through Walvis Bay. With the varying costs between each, it’s important to prepare and calculate taxes and duty before deciding to buy a car online.
1. Research Necessary Information for the Payment of Tax and Duty
It is very important to adequately prepare the right tax and duty to pay the Revenue Authority prior to even ordering your car, as paying these tax obligations is a must whenever importing a vehicle or any other machines in the country. The Zambia Revenue Authority has many guidelines and restrictions that have to be adhered to when importing vehicles or machines.
The general guidelines are that whenever you are importing a vehicle it shall be subjected to inspections and the correct value ascertained at the point of entry, which in this case is any border point that the vehicle came through. Upon determination of the correct value of the vehicle, the importer is liable to settle all taxes as ascertained by the authority within a specified period (maximum of five working days utmost). Other factors that are considered include the year of make of the car, additional accessories, and the engine capacity.
In recent years Zambian law requires that all imported vehicles manufactured before the year 2000 pay higher tax than newer models. This is due to the fact that older vehicles are considered to have higher carbon emission levels, which is also the case for vehicles with higher engine capacities, which also fall into the same category of attracting higher tax.
2. Consider Certain Vehicles that Receive Lower Taxes and Duty
Certain vehicles attract lower taxes and duty due to their weight. Smaller, compact and mid-size cars usually always receive a lower tax and duty rate as the tonnage is considered less of a strain on road infrastructure and environment. Additionally, low emission cars with low engine capacities and vehicles manufactured from the year 2002 upwards, will always save you money, as government policy tries to encourage individuals and companies to purchase units that are environmentally friendly with low carbon emissions.
Vehicles with 1,500cc and below received the lowest surtax rate in 2016, however it is recommended to view the most recent tax rates on the Zambia Revenue Authority website. With the Zambia Revenue Authority, the right taxes can also be paid in advance as one receives documents such as the export certificate, bill of lading, and invoice, however the vehicle will still go through the physical inspection process for verification purposes. These prepaid measures have been put in place to make it more convenient for car importers to easily go through the process with as little delays as possible, as border points can be very congested with lots of vehicles, trucks and cargo awaiting clearance.
Tax compliance is very important and one should not risk their vehicle from being impounded, as the authority has the power to do so. With good research and preparation in advance, you can receive and maintain your vehicle at the lowest Zambian tax rate for time to come.
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