The Customs and Excise (General) Regulations, as published Statutory Instrument 154 of 2001 Section 127, provides for a rebate of duty for goods imported for religious purposes by religious organisations. This means that such goods imported by a religious organisation enjoy duty free and Value Added Tax (VAT) free concessions.
- Religious organisations operating in Zimbabwe and approved by the Commissioner General.
Which goods qualify?
(a) Organs and the blowers therefore;
(b) Harmonious and band instruments;
(c) Church decorations, altars, fonts, lecterns, pulpits, vestments and other appointments not being furniture;
(d) Illuminated windows;
(e) Bibles, prayer books, hymn books pictures, pamphlets, posters, charts;
(f) Statues of a religious nature, crucifix;
(g) Church vessels;
(h) Incense; and
(i) Building materials as may be approved by the Commissioner but provided that such materials are not produced locally.
Please note that:
- Building materials which are produced and can be sourced locally do not qualify for this rebate; and
2.This duty free concession does not extend to furniture like chairs and benches.
Any religious organisation wishing to enjoy this rebate must submit the following documents to the Regional office nearest to them:
- Written application letter addressed to the Commissioner.
- Certified copy of the religious organisation’s constitution.
- Evidence of the existence of the religious organisation in the form of testimonial letters from two other independent established religious organisations in Zimbabwe.
- Proof of physical address in the form of certified copies of title deeds or long lease agreement and utility bills.
- Certified copies of identity documents for at least two responsible people according to the organisation’s constitution.
- Letter of undertaking that the goods so imported would be solely for use by the religious organisation and would not be sold or disposed of.
- A comprehensive list of the goods.
- Proforma invoice for the goods to be imported with clear descriptions and quantities.
It should be noted that any additional goods on the consignment that are not specified in the letter of authorisation to clear under this rebate will be liable to duty at the applicable rates.
The Commissioner has the power to disapprove any item(s) being imported that does not have a clear and genuine religious character or function and to deny any organisation in itself that is obviously not religious.
Conditions on disposal
If any of the goods are to be sold or otherwise disposed of, the duty that was payable at the time of importation of the goods becomes due and payable and the religious organisation must seek the Commissioner’s approval prior to disposal.
Disclaimer: This article was compiled by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority for information purposes only. Zimra shall not accept responsibility for loss or damage arising from use of material in this article and no liability will attach to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority.
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