Value-added tax (VAT)
VAT shall be levied on natural persons or corporate bodies that automatically, habitually, or occasionally carry out taxable transactions consisting of provisions of services or sales of goods.
The total VAT in Cameroon is 19.25%. Exports are zero rated. The VAT paid upstream is recoverable, except where otherwise stated.
Note that VAT is invoiced only by natural and legal persons whose turnover (taxes excluded) is equal to or above XAF 50 million and who are under the tax regime of actual earnings.
Customs duties of between 5% and 30%, depending on the nature of the goods imported, are levied based on the customs value.
Goods acquired electronically and imported into Cameroon shall be subject to customs duties and taxes under conditions laid down by regulation.
Software, royalties, usage rights, licences, and updates shall be subject to customs clearance under the terms and conditions provided by the law, regardless of the means of entry into Cameroon.
The rate of the Common External Tariff (CET) has been re-established on some products, such as rice and cement. As such, the import of rice, which previously benefitted from the suspension of duties and taxes, is henceforth subject to the CET at the rate of 5%, and the CET rate has been revised upwards for some types of cement.
There is an African Integration Contribution (AIC) at the rate of 0.2% applicable to the taxable value of goods imported from third party countries into the African Union.
The ceiling of the computer fee, which rate is 0.45%, shall be fixed at XAF 15,000 per export declaration.
As of 1 January 2018, interest for late payment at the rate of 1.5% per month (capped at 50%) has been instituted for persons who have failed to pay taxes and customs duties 30 days after the computation of the detailed declaration.
The Preferential Tariff (PT) of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) entered into force in Cameroon on 1 January 2018. As of this date, Cameroonian goods exported in the countries of the ECCAS shall be exempt from customs duty. Goods from those countries shall be subject to zero-rate customs duty.
Countries of the ECCAS include Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Republic of Congo, and São Tomé and Príncipe.
An excise duty of 25% is applicable to cigarettes, drinks, cosmetics, luxury items (e.g. jewels, precious stones), slot machines, and other devices used for games of chance. A reduced rate of excise duty (12.5%) shall apply to soft drinks and private vehicles with engine capacities of 2,000 cm³.
There is an extra-reduced rate of excise duties at 2% applicable to mobile telephone communications and Internet services.
Deductions initially made as excise duties shall be subject to regularisations by tax officials in case of reselling throughout the national territory.
There are minimum excise duties applicable to alcoholic beverages and tobacco. For tobacco, the minimum tax shall not be less than XAF 3,500 for 1,000 cigarette rods. For alcoholic beverages, the minimum tax depends on the nature of the alcohol and the alcohol level per litre.
Some arms and their parts, as well as ammunition, (of Chapter 93 of the CEMAC Code) imported by persons other than those governed by public law shall be subject to excise duty at the rate of 25% of the taxable value.
As of 1 January 2018, games of chance and entertainment, including lotteries and mutual, simple, or any other betting games, shall be subject to a specific excise duty of XAF 25 per unit of play or bet.
Real property tax
Cameroon property tax is payable annually on real estate with or without an ownership certificate or an administrative or judicial order issued. Tax is charged at 0.1% of the assessed property value.
Properties belonging to clubs, associations, or sporting bodies' accredited properties intended for sports and sports facilities are exempt from real property tax.
The sale of a business in Cameroon is subject to a transfer tax rate of 15%.
The registration duty applies to certain deeds listed by the General Tax Code (GTC). The assessment basis depends on the nature of transactions, and the rate varies from 1% to 15%.
The formation of a company and subsequent capital increases in Cameroon are not subject to registration duty.
Public contracts or procurements for amounts of less than XAF 5 million, paid from the budget of the state, local, and regional authorities, administrative public establishments, or from external funding, shall be subject to registration duty at the rate of 5%.
Public contracts and procurements paid from the budget of state-owned companies and semi-public corporations shall be subject to registration duty at the rate of 2% or 1% where the amount is, respectively, less or more than XAF 5 million.
Public orders for fuels and lubricants, regardless of the purchase or payment method, shall be exempted from registration duty and stamp duty.
The following transactions are subject to registration duty at the rate of 2%:
- The transfer of shares and bonds of commercial or civil companies with registered offices outside of the CEMAC zone when said instruments are utilised or when the transfer produces consequences in a CEMAC country.
- The transfer (even indirect) in Cameroon or abroad of shares and bonds of companies with registered offices in Cameroon.
- Any public procurement of an amount above or equal to XAF 5 million, whatever the source of financing.
Collateral and mortgage loans with microfinance institutions of the first category, as well as the related releases, surety bonds, and guarantees, shall henceforth be exempted from the registration formality and the payment of graduated stamp duty.
Stamp duty in CEMAC countries is established, independent of registration fees, on all papers to be used for civil and legal instruments and documents that may be brought before law courts as proof. It shall be collected on the basis and in accordance with the rules laid down in the GTC.
Stamp duty shall be fixed according to the nature of the instruments subject thereto. There shall be no exemptions except those expressly indicated in the GTC.
The maximum and minimum stamp duty based on paper size are fixed at XAF 1,500 and XAF 1,000, respectively, in Cameroon.
Employers in Cameroon are required to make monthly contributions of 2.5% of the total amount of salaries and fringe benefits of their employees to the Housing Loan and Employment Fund of Cameroon.
Social security contributions
Employer and employee must contribute on a monthly basis to Cameroon’s National Social Insurance Fund at 11.2% and 4.2%, respectively. The basis of contribution is capped at XAF 750,000 per month (i.e. XAF 9 million per year). Employers in Cameroon must also contribute 1.75%, 2.5%, or 5% of total salaries to the National Social Insurance Fund for Industrial Accidents when they are respectively classified in groups A, B, or C according to the classification per type of activity. The calculation basis in this category is the gross salary, including the benefits in kind assessed for their actual amount.
Business licence tax
Any natural person or corporate body carrying on a trade, industry, or profession in Cameroon shall be liable to a business licence tax. The business licence tax is paid annually and shall be calculated by applying a rate to the turnover of the previous financial year-ended as follows:
- 0.159% on the turnover of large companies (those under the jurisdiction of the large taxpayers unit), for a minimum contribution of XAF 5 million and a maximum contribution of XAF 2.5 billion.
- 0.283% on the turnover of medium-sized companies (those under the jurisdiction of the Medium Size Taxpayers Centre, Specialised Tax Centre, and Specialised Tax Centre for Liberal Professions and Real Estate), for a minimum contribution of XAF 141,500 and a maximum contribution of XAF 4.5 million.
- 0.494% on the turnover of small-sized companies (those under the jurisdiction of the divisional tax centres), for a minimum contribution of XAF 50,000 and a maximum contribution of XAF 140,000.
New enterprises shall be exempt from the payment of the business licence tax during the first year of operation.