The general tax year is defined as the 12 months ended 31 December of each year. Applications may be made for a different year-end if good reasons are given (e.g. to comply with the international group year-end). In the first year of trade, a longer or shorter period than 12 months may be accepted to tie in with a future year-end.
The Commissioner-General notifies taxpayers of the due date for submission of tax returns on an annual basis.
The CIT return is due by 30 April of the following year of the year end.
A transfer pricing return (called an ITF12C2) is now required to be filed as an addendum to the CIT return. Persons who are required to submit ITF12C2 returns are, generally, those who:
- transacted with 'associated persons'
- are operating as branches or PEs, or
- transacted with related entities in about 34 specified countries/unincorporated territories (the list includes the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Isle of Man, Luxembourg, Mauritius, and the US Virgin Islands).
Payment of tax
Zimbabwe regulates the payment of CIT on four dates during the course of the current tax year; these are referred to as Quarterly Payment Dates (QPDs).
The first payment of 10% is due by 25 March of the respective tax year.
The second payment of 25% is due by 25 June of the respective tax year.
The third payment of 30% is due by 25 September of the respective tax year.
The fourth payment of 35% is due by 20 December of the respective tax year.
All taxes are expected to have been paid within the year and by the last quarterly payment date. If there is an adjustment after the year-end accounts have been finalised, a top-up payment must be made. However, in practice, this payment should not be more than 10% of the annual tax liability. ZIMRA often imposes a 10% per annum interest on foreign currency liabilities and Bank Policy Rate (which is above 200%) for ZWL liabilities.
WHT payments are due within ten days from the date of distribution or accrual.
Tax audit process
Tax audits do not, at present, have a set cycle; however, the aim is to establish a three-year cycle in the future.
Statute of limitations
The statute of limitations is generally six years unless ZIMRA considers that there is fraud or misrepresentation involved. In those circumstances, there is no set limit on how far back ZIMRA can go, but it usually does not go beyond six years in practice.
Topics of focus for tax authorities
ZIMRA is focused on ensuring that all compliance issues are in order and that VAT and payroll taxes have been correctly calculated.
Current Zimbabwe legislation contains basic anti-avoidance sections that empower the Commissioner General to disregard the implications of a transaction or scheme if it can be proven that:
- such a transaction or scheme had been entered into to avoid or postpone the payment of any duty or levy imposed by the Act
- it was entered into or carried out by means or in a manner that would not normally be employed in the entering into or carrying out of a transaction, operation, or scheme of the nature of the transaction, operation, or scheme in question, or
- it has created rights or obligations that would not normally be created between persons dealing at arm’s length under a transaction, operation, or scheme of the nature of the transaction, operation, or scheme in question.
ZIMRA may, at the Commissioner General's sole discretion, impose this legislation on any transaction or scheme, which will place the burden of proof on the taxpayer to prove that any/all of the requirements noted above will not be applicable to the transaction or scheme.
Note that the anti-avoidance sections have been amended to include transfer pricing legislation (see Transfer pricing in the Group taxation section).