taxable supplier. Refunds should be made within 30 days from the date of submission but they may be subject to verification by the ZRA, which can delay the payment of the refund.
Input tax may not be deducted or claimed after a period of one year from the date of the relevant invoice.
Tax invoices should normally be issued in the same month that the goods or services are supplied. Tax invoices must be retained for a minimum period of six years. Not more than one tax invoice may be issued for the same taxable supply. A customer is entitled to ask for a duplicate invoice in case of loss of the original tax invoice. The duplicate invoice must be marked prominently with the word ‘duplicate’.
The details to be shown on tax invoices vary, depending on the value of the supply. For supplies in excess of ZMK50,000, a full tax invoice must be issued. For supplies of less than ZMK50,000, a simplified invoice may be issued. The following details are mandatory requirements on the tax invoice:
the words ‘tax invoice’ in a prominent place;
the name, address and VAT registration number of the supplier;
the name or business name and address of the recipient;
the serial number of the invoice and date of issue;
the quantity or volume of the goods or services supplied;
the description of the goods or services supplied;
the selling price, excluding VAT and any discount;
the total amount of the VAT charged; and
the selling price including VAT or the total charge on the invoice inclusive of VAT, any discount and the rate of VAT.
The ZRA requires tax invoices to be preprinted with the invoice numbers preprinted in sequential form. This means that the invoices must be issued from a preprinted book. If the supplier wishes to issue a computerised invoice, the accounting package must be audited and approved by the ZRA. The system must not permit any manual input of the invoice number. If the invoice is not preprinted, the ZRA will disallow the invoice for input VAT deduction purposes.
Electronic invoices will only be accepted if the accounting system is audited and approved by the ZRA. Further, they must meet the mandatory requirements specified for tax invoices.
Foreign languages may not be used on invoices.
Where foreign currency is used on an invoice, the tax invoice must show the kwacha exchange rate and the kwacha equivalent at the date of the transaction. The date of transaction will normally be the date the tax invoice is raised. The exchange rate to be applied is the Bank of Zambia rate or any commercial bank rate in Zambia.
Agents issue tax invoices only where a foreign supplier has appointed the agent.
Credit and debit notes Credit notes may be issued where:
the supply has been cancelled;
the supply or total purchase price has been varied or altered; or
the goods have been returned to the supplier.
The details required on a credit note are the same as those required on a tax invoice. The invoice must be clearly headed ‘credit note’. The details of the person or business receiving the credit, the quantity and amount credited for each item, the number and date of the original tax invoice or a clear audit trail to show VAT was accounted for on the original supply must be shown. A brief reason for the issue of a credit note is also required.
The supplier who issues the credit note may deduct from the total output VAT on the VAT return the total output VAT shown on the credit note, in which the credit is given.
The business in receipt of a credit note for goods or services that have been subsequently cancelled or returned should ensure that input VAT is not claimed, or if it has already been claimed, that it is cancelled by deducting the VAT amount from the input VAT claimed in the period during which the credit note was received.
Additional export documentation
VAT-registered suppliers are required to maintain proof or evidence that goods were exported to qualify for zero rating. Proof of export includes:
copies of export documents for the goods, bearing a certificate of shipment provided by the export authority;
copies of import documents for the goods, bearing a certificate of importation into the country of destination provided by the customs authority of that country;
proof of payment by the customer of the goods; and