Home > Business, Money Matters > Commercial Clearance Guidelines on Imports & Exports

Commercial Clearance Guidelines on Imports & Exports

Below are details of how to clerar commercial goods with Zimra. Bfore shiiping your consignment ensure that you understand the amount of tax that you are likely to pay. Do your research thoroughly. Sometimes Zimra gets it wrong, but if you are well informed, you will be able to spot their miscalculations. Using an agent may be an easier way of dealing with the customs process because the agents will understand the customs and exice rules better than you do.

Commercial Importations

These are goods imported for commercial purposes by any individual or organisation. Clearance of such importations is done by a Bill of Entry which is processed in the ASYCUDA system. The importer should have a Business Partner Number which is activated for Customs purposes.

Importers are encouraged to engage the services of professional clearing agents because of the complexities of the valuation system and the Harmonised Tariff System. The following documents are required when clearing commercial importations:

Bill of Entry (Form 21)
Suppliers’ invoices
Export or transit Bill of Entry from the country of export (where applicable)
Bill of Lading (where applicable)
Value Declaration Forms.
Consignment notes, for instance Rail Advice Notes or Air Way Bill (AWB) or Bill of Lading
Freight statements
Cargo manifests
Insurance Statement
Certificates of Origin where preference is claimed
Port charges invoices (where applicable)
Original permits
Licences, Duty Free Certificates, Rebate Letters, Value Rulings (where applicable)
Agent / Importer’s Worksheet
*N.B. Copy of Income Tax Form 263 should also be attached.

Calculation of Duty

Duty is calculated on the basis of Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) value of the imported goods up to the point of entry into Zimbabwe. Insurance and freight inside Zimbabwe is excluded from the Value for Duty Purposes (VDP). The CIF value of the imported goods is an aggregate of the cost of goods, insurance, freight and any other charges incurred outside Zimbabwe.

Completion, Submission and Clearance of Goods

A Bill of Entry (Form 21) is registered on Direct Trader Input (DTI) since all clearing agents are required to have the DTI facility.
Two sets of documents must be submitted and clearly marked “ZIMRA Copy” and “Importer’s Copy” or “Exporter’s Copy”.
All supporting documents must be attached.
If importer has no tax clearance certificate (ITF 263) Informal Cross Border Trader’s Tax of 10% of the value for duty purposes will be due and payable together with any duties and other charges which may be due before goods can be released by ZIMRA.
Payments of duty are done by way of bank deposits into the ZIMRA account. The deposited amount will be credited to the agent’s or importer’s account with ZIMRA.
Documents are processed, assessed and if correct a Delivery Release Order is issued authorising the collection of goods from the carrier or detention. If there is need to inspect the goods, an Examination Order is issued and an inspection carried out to verify the quantities, classification, origin, values or any aspect that needs clarification.

Preferential duty regimes and certificates of origin

Where goods are imported from SADC, COMESA or any Member State with which we have trade agreement, preferential rates of duty will be applicable if the correct applicable certificates of origin are attached.

Importation into bonded warehouses

Goods can be imported into a licensed bonded warehouse and can be kept there for a period of up to two years before payment of duty. The facility is meant for importers who want to make bulk purchases and enjoy quantity discounts and cheaper transport costs for bulk shipments. The importer also has two years to sell his goods direct from that warehouse and will only take out small quantities as per his customer’s requirements. This helps the importer in that he does not tie-up his cash on goods not yet marketable.

Removal of Goods in Bond

This is removal of goods in bond for final clearance at an inland port. A clearing agent who has a bond with ZIMRA or an importer who does in-house clearing and has a bond with ZIMRA can do such movement of goods and do the final clearance inland. Goods moved under Removal In Bond are expected to be entered for consumption within 10 days.

Removal of Goods in Transit

This is removal of goods destined to other countries through Zimbabwe. Security for duty at stake for those goods will be through a clearing agent who has a bond with ZIMRA or a cash deposit. Goods removed in transit are expected to make exit within three days. The bill of entry will be acquitted in the system as proof that the goods have made exit. If the bill of entry remains outstanding in the system, the goods are taken to have been consumed in the country and duties waived at time of importation will be called for or the bond on those goods will be called-up.

Customs Procedure Codes (CPCs)

Different importers import goods for different reasons and as such different Customs Procedure Codes will be used on such importations. Such codes will enable importer to enjoy any privileges they are entitled to, for instance, importations for the exclusive use of the Government will come in duty free and a specific code for that was created. Some goods were granted a suspension of duty and such CPC was created also for that purpose. Some importers enjoy certain rebates and such codes will enable suppression of the duties due. However each declaration is verified by checking also if the CPC used is applicable. If one tries to take advantage of non-applicable codes, it becomes a false declaration and the goods will be liable to seizure.


Documentation has to be done by either a registered importer or a registered clearing agent. No duties are payable on export but

clearance fees will be due and payable.

Export documentation should be in two sets and includes:

Bill of Entry (Form 21)
Exchange Control CD1 forms which can be obtained from commercial banks
Suppliers’ invoices
Consignment notes
Original Export Permits
Dealing with Transit Cargo

Transit cargo has posed so many challenges both for ZIMRA and the clearing agent involved. For ZIMRA, a lot of revenue has been lost as some of the goods would never make exit but disposed of on the local market. For clearing agents, after making the transit entry they do not have control over the driver and whatever may happen on the way yet they would have committed themselves to ZIMRA on processing the entry. To curb that problem especially on vehicles in transit, such motor vehicles need to be transported on a carrier as from 1st November 2010.

Categories: Business, Money Matters
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