The Customs and Excise (General) Regulations, as published in Statutory Instrument 154 of 2001, provides for a rebate of duty on selected imported goods by religious organisations. This implies that such goods when imported enjoy duty free and Value Added Tax (VAT) free concessions.

Who qualifies?

Religious organisations operating in Zimbabwe and approved by the Commissioner General of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) qualify for this rebate.

Which goods qualify?

  • Organs and the blowers;
  • Band instruments;
  • Church decorations, altars, lecterns, pulpits, vestments and other appointments not

being furniture;

  • Illuminated windows;
  • Bibles, prayer books, hymn books pictures, pamphlets, posters, charts;
  • Statues of a religious nature,
  • Crucifix;
  • Church vessels
  • Incense; and
  • Building materials as may be approved by the Commissioner General of ZIMRA but provided that such materials are not produced locally

Please note that:

  • Building materials which are produced locally do not qualify for this rebate; and
  • This duty free concession does not extend to furniture like chairs and benches.

 

Procedure for clearance under rebate

Any religious organisation wishing to enjoy this rebate must submit the following documents to their nearest ZIMRA Regional office:

  • Written application letter addressed to the Commissioner General of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA)
  • 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 General of ZIMRA has the power to disapprove any item(s) being imported that do not have a clear and genuine religious character or function and to deny any organisation 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 becomes due and payable and the religious organisation must seek the Commissioner General of ZIMRA’s approval prior to disposal.