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Taxation of Diplomats and Consuls

Who is a Diplomat?

A person, with diplomatic rank, officially appointed by a state to conduct diplomacy with another state or an international organisation.

Who is a Consul?

A person with diplomatic rank performing the function of protecting and furthering the interests of commercial and economic relations between Swaziland and a country that chooses to send a Consul. (which may be a third state).

Honorary and Career Consul?

Honorary Consul may have come on their own initiative, but by virtue of their business enterprises and interest of the person's state, such person may be made a Consul through the explicit authority of their national state. Career Consul are usually present in Swaziland primarily for the furtherance of Consular functions.

Characteristics of a Diplomat/Consul

  • Shall have been sent by his state to perform diplomatic or consular functions in Swaziland.
  • Shall have been confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations (MoFAIR) to be a diplomat or consul.

Persons Excluded?

  • Locally recruited staff by Diplomatic or Consular Missions may never attain diplomatic or consular status.
  • A Swazi national without the express consent of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations.

Taxation of Diplomats/Consul

  • Tax treatment is provided for by Section 12 of the Income Tax Order 1975 and Section 50 of the VAT Act 2011 which makes reference to the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations. It provides as follows:
  • Diplomats/Consul shall be exempt from taxation, except in respect of;
  • dues and taxes on private income having its source in Swaziland as well as capital taxes on investments made in commercial undertakings.
  • indirect taxes of a kind which are normally incorporated in the price of goods or services
  • dues and taxes on private immovable property situated in the territory of the receiving State, unless held on behalf of the sending State
  • charges levied for specific services rendered
  • Members of the administrative and technical staff of the mission, together with members of their families forming part of their respective households, if they are nationals of or permanently resident in Swaziland.
  • Where any person is not defined as a Diplomat or Consul, or there is no international agreement providing for exemption, such person shall be taxable to the extent defined in Swaziland taxation laws.
  • Note: In the case of VAT, exemptions are not automatic. Applications are required in all circumstances.
  • The establishment of diplomatic and Consular relations between states takes place by mutual consent.
  • The Commissioner General may direct the method of exemption and the time limit for the applicability of the exemption in accordance with the Income Tax Order or VAT Act.
  • Where the Diplomat, Consul or International Organisation has paid tax which they should not have paid, in terms of the law, they may apply for a refund from SRA using the VAT REFUND FORM FOR DIPLOMATS, DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR MISSIONS AND
  • INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS which may be downloaded from the SRA website



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