The Customs and Excise Act, Income & Capital Gains Tax Act and Value-Added Tax Act provides for taxpayers with grievances on assessments or decisions made by the ZIMRA officers and managers to appeal and object on such.
The Acts insist on the taxpayer (importer/exporter) bearing the burden of proof if the taxman is not satisfied with the information provided by the taxpayer such that the taxman goes on to use some other information he deems to be correct himself. Many Importers fall victim of this trend by the taxman which in most instances result in upliftment of declared values resulting in exorbitant duties accompanied with penalties and interests being charged. If the importer needs more time to raise money for the additional duties and penalties that’s more misery since the storage costs and demurrage costs will be accumulating.
Some of the cases that befall taxpayers include tariff disputes, unfair rebate denials, fines on errors of omission and commission, fines on accidentally damaged electronic seals and unfair seizure and forfeiture of goods, among other cases.
Taxpayers can appeal to the Commissioner General who in turn is compelled to give a determination on the objection. Cases are won on merit so presentation of facts is key. The grounds of objection should be strong and valid. Successful appeals will result in full or partly waiver of penalties and interests, duties being revised down and reversal of initially made harsh decisions.
If not satisfied with the commissioner general’s determination the taxpayer can approach the courts for recourse, that is, the Special Court for Income Tax, High Court, Fiscal Appeal Court or the Supreme Court.
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