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Zambia Corporate - Significant developments

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Following the 2019 Budget announcements, the following key measures have been put in place with effect from 1 January 2019:

  • Withholding tax (WHT) rates have increased from 15% to 20% on the following payments made to non-residents: dividends, interest, and the remittance of branch profits.
  • The corporate income tax (CIT) rate for companies adding value to copper cathodes has been reduced from 35% to 15%.
  • Deductibility of interest is limited to 30% of a company’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA). This limit excludes businesses on the turnover tax system and taxpayers engaged under the Banking and Financial Services Act.
  • The current presumptive turnover tax regime has been replaced with a flat rate tax. Under this new tax regime, a business with a turnover of 800,000 Zambian kwacha (ZMW) or less per annum will be taxed at the flat rate of 4%.
  • The taxation on casinos has been replaced with a new tax regime.
  • For value-added tax (VAT), every director or manager of a company is liable, upon conviction, for offences committed by the company, as if the director or manager had personally committed the offence.
  • An excise duty of ZMW 0.30 per litre has been introduced on non-alcoholic beverages.
  • An excise duty rate on plastic carrier bags has been increased from 20% to 30%.
  • Customs duty on LED has been suspended.
  • Export duty of 10% has been introduced on export of raw hides and skin, and the ban on these exports has been lifted.
  • Customs duty on used and re-treaded tyres has been increased from 25% or ZMW 3 per kg to 40% or ZMW 5 per kg.
  • The customs duty rate on powdered milk in bulk for further processing has been increased from 5% to 15%, with the exception of infant milk, which is duty free.
  • The customs duty rebates with regards to importation of materials used in the construction of shopping malls has been discontinued.
  • The period of absence from Zambia for a returning resident to qualify for a duty rebate on imported motor vehicles has been increased from two years to four years.
  • Mineral royalty tax is no longer deductible in determining the taxable income of a mining company.
  • The mineral royalty rates for copper have been increased at all levels of the sliding scale and a fourth and fifth tier rate have been introduced.
  • The mineral royalty rate for cobalt has been increased from 5% to 8% of the 'norm value' of cobalt.
  • Import duty of 5% has been introduced on importation of copper and cobalt concentrates.
  • Export duty of 15% has been introduced on exportation of precious metals, including gold, precious stones, and gemstones.
  • The suspension of export duty on manganese ores and concentrates has been lifted, and the duty rate has increased from 10% to 15%.
  • The statute of limitations in respect of transfer pricing has been increased from 6 to 10 years.
  • The penalty for non-compliance with transfer pricing regulations has been increased from 10,000 penalty units to up to 80 million penalty units (i.e. from ZMW 3,000 to up to ZMW 24 million).
  • Specific penalties for non-compliance of skills development levy (SDL) have been introduced.

In addition to the above measures, which are effective from 1 January 2019, the VAT system will be abolished and replaced with a simpler, non-refundable sales tax, which is expected to take effect at a future date in 2019.


Last Reviewed - 26 July 2019

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