Customs and Excise
Declaration Process

Declaration Process

Last Updated: 17 August, 2023 - Print

What steps should one follow when he/she arrives at the border station with imported goods?

When you arrive at the border post with imported goods: You will be given a Form 47 on which to declare all the goods imported and their values. Customs officials may physically examine your goods in order to confirm your declaration and determine the taxes due Goods whose value is more than K500,000 are required to be cleared through a Customs Clearing Agent using Form 12 Under Customs laws, it is an offence to present false invoices or cash sales.

How does MRA determine taxes on goods that one has imported into the country?

MRA uses different Tariff Sub-headings from the Customs & Excise Tariff Order depending on the type of the goods imported. Goods of different nature are classified differently and attract different rates of duty.

For example, goods like cosmetics, cigarettes, or cars are classified differently and therefore attract higher rates of excise duty. Importers are further reminded that it is a serious offence to make a false declaration.

When one has imported goods from a country or countries that are a party to a bilateral, regional or global trade agreement with Malawi, depending on the terms of the agreement, his/her goods may enjoy preferential rates of duty. However, this will not apply where the conditions or terms of the agreement are not met in full e.g. production of a valid Certificate of Origin.

Contact the nearest Customs office or a clearing agent office for the tariff classification.

What is a personal rebate?

This is a personal allowance that is granted to a returning resident who is importing goods into the country for personal use only. The personal rebate is currently at K750, 000.00 (refer the Malawi Gazette Supplement dated 1st March 2023 – Govt Notice No 8).

Who is entitled to a personal rebate?

A returning resident is allowed a personal rebate: When he/she has been out of the country for more than 24 hours and the goods imported are for personal use only. Upon calculation, if it is found that after the personal rebate is given and the remaining value of the goods is less than K10, 000, the importer would be required to pay only 30% of the value of the goods. If after the rebate is given the value of the goods is greater than K10, 000, the returning resident would be required to pay duty as specified in the Customs & Excise Order

For instance, if one’s goods value is K757, 500, the taxable value will be calculated as follows:

  1. Total value K757, 500
  2. Rebate      K750, 000
  3. Difference  K7, 500

In this case, the importer would only be required to pay 30% of K7, 500  which is K2, 250.

If goods were worth K764, 450, taxes due would be calculated as follows:

  1. Total value K764, 450
  2. Rebate      K750, 000
  3. Difference  K14, 450

The returning resident would only be expected to pay normal rates of duty (on the difference-K14,450) as specified in the Customs & Excise Tariff Order.

When two persons are travelling together as a family (husband and wife including children) each one of them is allowed K750,000 rebate. The total rebate for a family is therefore deducted from the total value of the goods. It should however, be emphasised that personal rebate is not allowed on commercial or unaccompanied goods.

Duty on free gifts or goods carried on behalf of other persons or organisations

Gifts given or imported by individuals or organisations are, by law, dutiable. When one imports or receives a gift, one must ensure that he/she provides for payment of duty. Similarly, when one carries imported goods on behalf of friends, relatives or organisations, he/she must pay the taxes due.

The law stipulates that the one accompanying the goods should bear the taxes due. It is therefore very important to declare all goods including gifts that are in the importer’s possession. Failure to do so renders the goods liable to seizure.

How does MRA treats falsified invoices

When it is discovered that the invoices produced are falsified, The invoices will be forfeited and the goods seized
Determination of the Customs values will then be based on secondary valuation methods as laid down in the Customs and Excise Act.
The importer may be prosecuted or a penalty imposed by the Commissioner General.

How to arrive at the Customs value

As taxes due will be determined using genuine invoices of the imported goods. The invoice value may include Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) and other charges as required by WTO Valuation Agreement, 1994. MRA will convert the invoice value into Malawi Kwacha using official exchange rates provided by the Reserve Bank of Malawi on a weekly basis.  

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