WHTs are applicable where dividends and royalties or similar payments are declared or distributed to non-Zimbabwean residents (and Zimbabwean residents in some instances).
Dividends declared by a Zimbabwean company to a non-resident holding company will be subject to non-resident shareholders tax (NRST), a WHT. NRST is payable at a rate of 15% unless treaty relief is available. Dividends from companies listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange have a rate of 10%. NRST is payable within thirty days after declaration of the dividend.
WHT of 15%, calculated on the gross amount of interest, is payable on interest accruing to any person resident in Zimbabwe. This applies to interest arising from a registered banking institution or unit trust scheme. The tax withheld is a final tax, and the financial institution is responsible to withhold the tax.
Non-resident investors, however, are currently exempt from any WHT on interest.
Royalties or similar payments
WHT on royalties are payable once a Zimbabwean company pays a royalty to a non-Zimbabwean resident. WHT is levied at a rate of 15% and is payable within ten days of the date of payment. The WHT falls due upon accrual (i.e. when payable), and actual payment is not a factor.
A royalty includes payment for the use or right to use any patent or design, trademark, copyright, model, pattern, plan, formula or process, or any other property or right of a similar nature. It also includes the imparting of any scientific, technical, industrial, or commercial knowledge or information for use in Zimbabwe. The nature of the amount payable should therefore be carefully considered in order to determine whether the relevant amount represents a royalty.
Fees are defined to include amounts that are technical, managerial, administrative, or consultative in nature; costs are paid externally. There are some exceptions, but the definition is broad and brings in most costs that may be charged to a Zimbabwean person.
WHT is levied at a rate of 15% and is payable within ten days of the date of payment.
Summary of WHT payable
The non-residents WHT rates and treaty relief for Zimbabwean DTAs can be summarised as follows. It should be noted that the tax treaties contain certain requirements that should be met before the reduced tax rate may be applied.
The definitions of dividends, interest, and royalties in the various treaties should also be considered.
|South Africa||5/10 (3)||N/A||10||5|
- Applies to unlisted companies. The rate for companies listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange is reduced to 10%.
- 2.5% where more than 25% of shares are held; 7.5% in all other cases.
- 5% where 25% of shares are held; 10% in all other cases.
‘N/A’ means that the provisions of the tax treaty limit the rate to a rate that is higher than the local Zimbabwean rate. It should be noted that a treaty can only provide tax relief and cannot impose a higher tax rate.
WHT is payable within ten days of the date of distribution or accrual.
Zimbabwe has either negotiated, or is currently negotiating, tax treaties with the following countries:
|Democratic Republic of the Congo||Namibia||Tunisia|
|Indonesia||Serbia and Montenegro||Zambia|