- This practice is not just a risk to the owner of the TPIN but also to the government because the motive is always criminal.
IN the recent past, there has been a lot of stories of people’s Taxpayer Identification Number (TPIN) being used to clear goods by unscrupulous Clearing Agents with a motive of avoiding paying Advance Income Tax (AIT) or to perpetuate fraud such as smuggling and under-declarations.
This practice is not just a risk to the owner of the TPIN but also to the government because the motive is always criminal.
To bring this practice to an end, The Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA), in its quest to continue improving service delivery to its stakeholders is introducing another trade facilitation tool called the Clearing Agents’ Management Module (CAMM) on the Customs Electronic Licensing System on the ASYCUDAWorld system that will require importers and exporters to appoint and disengage Clearing Agents to act as their representatives to Customs through an electronic platform.
The Module will be piloted from 7th December, 2020 to 31st March, 2021 before becoming mandatory by the second quarter of 2021. ZRA has since commenced nationwide sensitization on the Module before the roll out.
The implementation of the Module will entail that Clearing Agents require consent from the owner of the TPIN account for them to use the TPIN.
The consent by the TPIN account holder will be electronically through the system by “appointing that particular Clearing Agent” as their agent. In this way the Module will ensure that only appointed Clearing Agents will have access to the client’s TPIN.
The importer/exporter will electronically appoint a Clearing Agent of their choice from the Agents list on the ZRA website www.zra.org.zm.
The Module can be accessed through the ZRA website under e-Customs. After requesting, CAMM will send an email message, on behalf of importer/exporter, to the Clearing Agent requesting them to represent them to Customs to clear goods on ASYCUDAWorld.
Once he/she receives the request, the Clearing Agent has an option to accept or not accept the request. Where a Clearing Agent does not accept the request, the importer/exporter has options to appoint other Clearing Agents up to a maximum of five. One thing to note also is that the importer/exporter can remove the Clearing Agent/s linked to their TPIN at any time. This therefore, provides no room for wrong doing by the Clearing Agent.
The Module comes with various benefits to importers and exporters, ZRA and the Government.
These benefits include mitigating TPIN abuse, reducing Customs fraud by unscrupulous persons, reducing debt stock on the part of ZRA and ultimately reducing revenue leakage.
The change comes as a legal requirement under Section 184 of the Customs and Excise Act, Chapter 322 of the Laws of Zambia.
To deal with the change management component of the innovation, a team of ZRA officers is currently visiting all the Customs borders to engage with Clearing Agents and taxpayers in order to educate them about the new change.
ZRA is currently on an innovation drive in order to improve service delivery as well as customer experience.
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