Voluntary disclosure of customs, excise offences

This article covers the Voluntary Disclosure programme that is running between July 2018 and December 2018 in as far as it refers to offences relating to the Customs and Excise provisions. Zimra has recorded a number of varying offences. It is against this backdrop that the authority is encouraging any individuals who have either knowingly or unwittingly committed or omitted acts that are against the provisions of the Customs and Excise Act to voluntarily disclose such acts.

What are the common offences under the Customs and Excise Act?

Wrong application of Customs Procedure Code (CPC)

Customs Procedure Codes are designed to enable importers to distinguish their importations for purposes of benefiting from specific rebates or duty waivers and suspensions.

For example, if goods were entered for home use by the government they would use the full CPC 4000 403 whilst if goods were re-imported after previous temporary exportation for repair under guarantee they would use the full CPC 6021 602.

The effect of both CPC’s would be the suppression of duty. Incorrectly applying a CPC can lead to an irregularity that can lead to underpayment of duty. This can be formalised by way of utilising the Voluntary Disclosure facility. Where a disclosure is made in respect of such irregularities any duties that should have been paid at the time of entry become payable whilst there will not be any penalties raised and payable. Interest due on the duties will however be payable.

Undervaluation

There can be cases of importations that were made utilising values that are less than the price actually paid or payable for the goods.

Some of the instances include importations made using false invoices or making false representations and forgery that lowers the values of the imported goods. Whilst these are serious commissions Zimra will waive penalties that would be payable if it had to discover such acts without the importer having disclosed the transactions voluntarily.

Interest and additional duties will however be collected. Importers who voluntarily disclose transactions involving these acts of non-compliance will not be subjected to any scrutiny as a result of the disclosure.

Incorrect Tariff classification

Importers may have knowingly or unknowingly used incorrect tariff classifications resulting in underpayment of duties. Such underpayments can be regularised through using the voluntary disclosure programme.

Any fines which would have been payable due to the incorrect tariff classification will be dispensed of and only the duty, and interest on the duty, calculated at 10 percent per annum will be payable.

Other Offences

Other offences include undue claim of preferential treatment where the origin of goods is falsified, production of illicit alcoholic beverages that are subject to excise duty, smuggling where Zimra has no record of the importations, warehousing irregularities including excise manufacturer’s understatements of production figures, etc.

All these irregularities qualify for waiver of penalties if the importers and Excise Manufacturers voluntarily disclosure subject transactions.

For more information, please approach your nearest Zimra office.

Disclaimer

This article was compiled by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) 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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