VEHICLE DUTY REBATE FOR RETURNING STUDENTS 

INTRODUCTION

Returning student refers to an individual who has lived in Zimbabwe before and returns to Zimbabwe once he/she completes a course of study.

The returning students rebate on importation of motor vehicle has over the years allowed them to afford to acquire and import motor vehicles into Zimbabwe at a rational cost.

It should be noted that for the returning student to qualify for the rebate certain conditions should be met as highlighted below.

CONDITIONS FOR THE STUDENT TO QUALIFY FOR REBATE

The returning student must be above the age of 16 years and should have stayed outside Zimbabwe for a period of not less than 2 years. The time of arrival also determines whether or not the student qualifies for the rebate and this can only be established from the returning student.

The first time of entering Zimbabwe by the student after completing the course of study, immigration officers will ask the returning student if he or she wishes to claim the returning student status upon arrival at any entry point. If the students wishes to claim returning students status, the immigration officer will stamp his/her passport with RR which shows that he or she is a returning resident.

The stamp concludes the student’s first occasion of entry and will determine whether or not the student can claim the motor vehicle rebate.  If the student does not import the vehicle on first occasion as above-mentioned he or she forgoes the duty rebate. 

Additionally, ZIMRA will request the returning student to produce academic transcripts, certificates or any other confirmation to ascertain that he or she has indeed completed studies.

The rebate is therefore not available to returning students who have not completed their studies for whatever reason. The vehicle must be in physical existence and fully paid for by the returning resident before the time of his arrival. Therefore if one purchases the motor vehicle after his return he or she may not enjoy the duty rebate, unless one did not declare that he has returned for good.

However, the rebate has led to the abuse by third parties importing vehicles duty-free. This abuse has resulted in the government losing out potential revenue to these 3rd parties.

To curb this risk the government has put a maximum value of US$5000 so as to qualify for the rebate. If a student imports a motor vehicle exceeding this value he/she will forego the rebate and pay the full duty on the imported vehicle.

Conclusively, the rebate has been of great importance as it benefits returning students although this move tend to result in an increase in the importation of second-hand motor vehicles which may pose environmental impacts such as emissions.

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