Personal gross income is made up of the following categories of income:
- Employment income.
- Income from stocks and shares.
- Income from real property.
- Handicraft, industrial, and commercial income.
- Profits from agriculture.
- Non-commercial profits.
The assessment of taxable income in each of these categories is governed by its own special rules.
For employment income, the basis of assessment is the gross amount of all wages, pensions, salaries, and annuities, as well as benefits in kind or in cash granted to the person concerned.
However, a wide range of allowances are exempted from taxation. They are, inter alia, special allowances to cover inherent duty and services expenses, family allowances and benefits, benefits paid by any state authority by virtue of the law, scholarships, temporary allowances, and benefits and life annuities paid to victims of industrial accidents and other rightful claimants.
Benefits in kind are assessed as follows on the basis of the taxable income:
- Housing: 15%.
- Electricity: 4%.
- Water: 2%.
- Per servant: 5%.
- Per vehicle: 10%.
- Food: 10%.
Further, any cash allowance representing benefits in kind shall be included in the basis of assessment within the limit of the above rates unless they are specifically exempted by a contrary provision.
Vacation fare for expatriate workers and their family is not taxable.
Income from stocks and shares
Income from stocks and shares includes:
- Proceeds from shares, stocks, and similar income.
- Income from bonds.
- Income from assets, deposits, surety-bonds, and current accounts.
- Profits from direct or indirect transfer of shares, bonds, and other kinds of shares in Cameroon or abroad.
- Capital gains on the transfer of rights relating to natural resources.
Income from stocks and shares are taxed at an overall rate of 16.5%.
As of January 2014, interest on loans contracted abroad and of a maturity period of at least seven years shall be exempted from personal income tax. The exemption is applicable only to agreements signed from 1 January 2014 onwards.
Where transfer is realised abroad, the Cameroonian law enterprise and the transferor shall be jointly and severally liable to payment of the sums due under such transfer.
Income from real property
Income from real property includes the following:
- Income from the letting of built-on or non-built-on real property situated in Cameroon.
- Capital gains from built-on or non-built-on property acquired against payment or free of charge.
- Interest earned by shareholders of a realty partnership that did not opt for company tax.
For the assessment of charges to be deducted from taxable income, the taxpayer has the right to choose between a fixed amount of 30% of the revenue or the actual costs based on supporting documentation.
Handicraft, industrial, and commercial income
All profits made by persons operating in Cameroon and derived from handicraft, industry, forestry, and commercial activities are treated as industrial and commercial profits. The ascertainment of the taxable basis depends on the taxation system to which the taxpayer belongs.
The three main systems of taxation are:
- The flat rate system, which corresponds to sole proprietorships with annual turnover of below XAF 10 million.
- The simplified taxation system, that operates where the turnover ranges from XAF 10 million to XAF 50 million.
- And the actual earnings system, for sole proprietorships and legal persons with annual turnover of XAF 50 million and above.
The taxable profit of taxpayers assessed on the basis of actual earnings and legal persons falling under the simplified taxation system shall be determined in the same way as for company tax.
The taxable basis of company tax is the difference between the proceeds and charges. See Taxes on corporate income in the Corporate summary for more information.
Profits from agriculture
Income earned by farmers, share-croppers, smallholders, or by the actual owners of agricultural undertakings is deemed to be profits of agriculture for the assessment of PIT.
The rules governing the assessment of the taxable basis are the same as those applicable to handicraft, industrial, and commercial profits.
Non-commercial profits include all earnings from liberal professions, from public offices and trusts held by persons without commercial status, from non-salaried income of sportsmen and artists, and from all operations, gainful activities, and other sources of income unconnected with the above categories of income.
The members of liberal professions are subject to the system of actual earnings regardless of the amount of their turnover.
The 2016 Finance Law has reduced the tax rate applicable to non-commercial revenue from 16.5% to 11% to be deducted at source by entities that pay the following:
- Allocations of any nature, such as allowances, gratuities, compensations, and daily subsistence allowances granted, in addition to salaries, by public and semi-public entities, excluding statutory compensations falling under the category of wages and of salaries, and reimbursement of costs, the list of which shall be established by decision of the Minister in charge of finance.
- Amounts, allowances, allocations, or remunerations of any nature paid to sportsmen and artists, irrespective of their tax domicile.