The Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) increased import taxes on used vehicles at the beginning of the year. The new exorbitant fees were imposed despite the already too high taxes drawn before.

According to analysts, the new taxes are equivalent to the price of the same car in the exporting country. A large number of second-hand vehicle motorists will be affected by these changes. Imported second-hand vehicles constitute 80% of the country’s vehicle population.

ZRA also introduced new precise, standard and predictable custom duty rates on imported second-hand cars. The rising corruption cases necessitated this move at the customs import. The new usual import duties are expected to facilitate transparent methods of determining excise and import duties imposed on second-hand vehicles. It also allows final owners of the imported used cars to be in control by paying for the right responsibilities. The new responsibilities even clear the many processes that were involved in clearing imports at the border which fueled corrupt deals. Time spent in clearing imported used cars has also been reduced.

Currently, a client is usually fully aware of the total costs of an imported used car including import duties to be paid even before importing the vehicle. The new strategies have helped in developing a systematic structure of imposing and collecting import duties on used cars. This is because all second-hand vehicles of the similar model type imported within the same year attract identical total import duties. This is regardless of their port of entry into the country.

Mr. Topsy Sikalinda, the corporate communications manager of ZRA said that the system is entirely fair. The imported used vehicles are categorized into two groups; those aged 2-5 years and those above five years. The cars are also identifiable by several factors. These are body type, sitting capacity, cylinder capacity & tonnage and fuel type. However, ZRA said that import duties would remain the same for brand new vehicles, prison vans, ambulances, tractors, hearse, trailers and other special duty vehicles.

ZRA put out a warning to vehicle owners who present false information to customs to pay less tax. Mr. Topsy said that the State would take and forfeit such vehicles.