The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) provides for many tax credits and breaks which can cushion individuals while providing extra income. Many of these tax credits go unclaimed and prejudicing the would-be claimants from penitential surplus income. The downside to failing to take advantage of any tax breaks is that they are only claimable in the period they were incurred.
The first credit which applies to all individuals is the medical expense credit or exemption. Zimra allows for a tax deduction for up to 50% of the total amount incurred by a person towards their medical expenses. While this tax credit is available to residents of Zimbabwe it covers medical expenses incurred not only for one’s self but also medical expenses incurred for one’s spouse and children including step and adopted children. It is important to note in the case of adopted children the adoption has to be legal and not assumed with legal guardianship of the child not being a basis of entitlement. In the event, the individual is a member of a medical aid society that covers the cost of medical costs or provides a refund of costs incurred individual will no longer qualify for the credit while the medical aid membership contribution itself shall be a tax credit. Examples of medical expenses for which a tax credit listed by Zimra are;-
- Services rendered by a medical or dental practitioner
- Drugs and medicines supplied on the prescription of a medical or dental practitioner
- Accommodation on admission, maintenance, nursing and treatment, including blood transfusions, X-ray and laboratory examinations and medical tests in a hospital, maternity-home, nursing-home, sanatorium, surgery, clinic or similar institution
- Transportation by ambulance, including an air ambulance
- Medical aid contributions to a medical aid society in respect of the taxpayer or his/her spouse or any minor children.
It is important to note that the medical provided must be registered at law as such and this may exclude many African/Alternative medicines and treatments. By law, any tax credit claimed must be proved by evidence.
Our revenue service has also in recognising the needs of the mentally and disabled in our country they through the law have been empowered a tax credit of U$9000.00 into their tax-free income. This credit applies to persons who suffer any form of disability save for blind persons who benefit from another credit. This credit shall be deducted from the claimants’ taxable income such as to increase their tax-free income while reducing their tax liability. A taxpayer who is not personally disabled can still benefit in the event one or more of their children are disabled as well as spouses. In order to claim and qualify for this credit, the claimant must be certified disabled by a specialist who must find the disability to be permeant as temporary disability does not qualify for the credit. Blind persons are given their own credit of US$900.00 or U$75.00 which shall be applied by the directive of Zimra. The cost of purchasing invalid appliances is an allowed deduction with 50% of the cost of purchase and this is like the credit for medical costs deducted from a taxpayer even where the cost is incurred by their spouse or child. Appliances for invalid are basically items used by our disabled in assisting them as well as other persons with medical conditions that aren’t disabilities. Zimra lists the following as examples;-
- a wheelchair,
- any artificial limb, leg callipers or crutch; or
- any special fitting for the modification or adaptation of a motor vehicle, bed, bathroom or toilet to enable its use by a person suffering from a physical defect or disability; or
- spectacles or contact lenses
While many may argue for more credits it is encouraged for individuals to contact their nearest tax office to see how these credits can be of assistance to them.