Q&A – 7 May 2018

Winning an overseas lottery

I won a luxury car in a lottery competition outside of Tanzania. I intend to bring it to Tanzania and am told that I will have to pay some astronomical amounts in import duty. Is there no provision for a poor man like me to get exempted? What other options do I have? Can I offload this car in Kenya and drive it to Dar- will that work out cheaper?

GT, Dar

It is true that your luxury car will be liable to some large amounts in import duty. One other tax that you have forgotten to mention is the applicability of 18% value added tax which you will have to pay.

Importation falls under the East African Community Customs Management Act, which is a common act across East Africa meaning whether you import the car through Tanzania or Kenya, the same taxes will apply.

Another option you have is to sell the car wherever it is now. However please note that under our Income Tax Act you are likely liable to pay income tax on your worldwide income meaning that if this comes to the notice of TRA, you will likely get taxed for the sell as well even though it is out of the country.

Under the Income Tax Act there is a provision whereby the Minister for Finance may exempt you from such taxability of income- however that option is discretionary and unlikely that you will get it for a lottery win. Your tax advisor can guide you further.

Cows taken by authorities

I have a number of cows and goats and in order to save costs I usually release them on the streets near home so they eat the grass and whatever else they can find. I have been doing that for years but out of nowhere the municipal authorities took my cows and goats and demanded that I pay a fine. Additionally they are ordering me that I should never let them out like that. Is this legal? Can a man not feed his cows and goats in peace on a freely grown grass that is on my own motherland of which I am a citizen? I want to take the municipal to task. What should I do?

IL, Dar

We understand your frustration and yes it was a practice for a long time for people to leave their animals wondering the streets and major roads. However such practice is prohibited under the municipal laws and regulations to ensure that the city is kept clean, avoid unwanted health issues and to prevent accidents. We believe the municipal authorities are within the law in ordering you to stop this.

Merely being a citizen does not mean you can do anything you want on the motherland. There are rules and regulations to follow so that all can live in peace and harmony. Imagine what would happen to the city of Dar es Salaam if every resident released their cows and goats on the streets. We recommend you consult your lawyer.

Immigration in Dar

I entered the JK Nyerere Airport a few months ago and was asked whether I was here for tourism purposes or business. I responded business to which I was asked to pay about USD 200. However I was given the option of taking a tourist visa which I told was cheaper and faster to process but that I had to pay an administrative charge of USD 50. I complied only to find out that whilst the total amount was cheaper than getting the business visa, I did not get a receipt for the administrative charge. I tried asking for it but with the big queue for visas I gave up otherwise I would have wasted a lot of time arguing. Can I get this receipt?

TP, Dar

We are not aware of an administrative fee payable for visas especially tourist visas. Effectively you have bribed the immigration officers without knowing that it was a bribe, although we think it was quite obvious. You cannot get such a receipt as there is no such receipt for administrative charges.

Further, with a tourist visa you were on a business trip meaning that you were not legally doing whatever business you were doing in Tanzania which is also an offence under our immigration laws. Your lawyers can guide you further.

Past tense in the law

I have been reading the law and am concerned that some of the drafting of Tanzanian law has past tenses meaning that the law would not apply today nor apply going forward. How would a Court of law look at this? Does this need to go back to parliament? What about laws that only mention the male gender- do they apply to females?

UE, Moshi

You have not cited the law that is poorly drafted but such a “tense related” drafting issue need not go back to parliament as the Interpretation of Laws Act has a special provision that cures this. Section 6 of the Interpretation of Laws Act states that a written law shall be considered as always speaking and whenever a matter or thing is expressed in the present tense, it shall be applied to the circumstances as they arise, so that effect may be given to every part of the law according to its true spirit, intent and meaning.

The same applies for gender. Section 8 of the same law states that in any written law– (a) words importing the masculine gender include the feminine; (b) words importing the feminine gender include the masculine; (c) words in the singular number include the plural and words in the plural number include the singular.

Hence reference to a male, to the extent it is relevant, also refers to the female.