1. 1. What is a flat rate?
  • Flat rates assessments are the rates of duty that are applied on importation of goods for private and personal use to simplify classification of goods and calculation of duty.
  • Flat rates increase efficiency and speed up clearance of travellers.
  • Flat rates are covered in Chapter 98 of the Zimbabwe Customs and Excise Tariff handbook (S.I. 203 of 2022).
  1. 2. When is it used

An importation shall be treated as not for Sale and not of a commercial nature –

  • If it is occasional and
  • it consists solely of goods for personal or family use by the consignee or traveller, and may, in the case of goods imported by a traveller, include goods intended as gifts; and
  • The goods are such of a kind or quantity that there is no indication that they are imported for commercial purposes.
  1. 3. Examples of flat rates applied on private importation includes:
  • 55% ad valorem on audio, television and video equipment.
  • 40% ad valorem on other goods
  • 40% plus USD3 per kg on clothing
  • 40% plus USD1 per pair on footwear
  • 5% on Books
  • 90% on wines
  • 110% on clear beer.
  1. 4. Benefits to ZIMRA
  • Easy to calculate.
  • Revenue collections can be increased considering that flat rates can be higher than specific rates of duty
  • Speedy clearance is done .
  1. Benefits to Clients
  • Clients do not spend much time at the ports of entry
  • Reducing of congestion
  • Convenient to the client as they do not have to engage services of an agent.
  • Speedy clearance is done.
  1. Exemptions

However, flat rates of assessment do not cover goods imported for sale or of a commercial nature.

Flat rates of assessment do not apply to the following goods which are sent in consignment to private individuals or imported by a traveller upon his person or in his personal baggage:

  1. i) literature published in braille.
  2. ii) braille typewriters

iii) vehicles of tariff headings 87.01, 87.02, 87.03, 87.04, 87.05, 87.06, 87.09, 87.10, 87.11 and 87.13

  1. iv) apparatus especially designed to assist physically handicapped persons to drive motor vehicles
  2. v) contact lenses of tariff subheading 9001.3000;
  3. vi) frames for corrective spectacle lenses;

viii) spectacles of tariff subheading 9004.1010 and 9004.9010;

  1. ix) the goods of tariff heading 9021;
  2. x) braille watches.

It is important to note that flat rates of duty do not apply if the person entitled has, requested that they be subjected to the specific tariffs appropriate to them. In that case the whole consignment shall be subjected to the appropriate tariffs.

Goods assessed at flat rate shall be exempt from surtax.