Value-added tax (VAT)
VAT is a cumulative tax levied on the sale of goods and the provision of services rendered or used in Gabon.
There are four rates of VAT:
- Standard rate: 18%, which applies to all transactions unless otherwise provided for by the law.
- Reduced rates:
- 10%, which applies to manufacturing operations and sales of products mentioned in a limitative list provided by Article 221 of the Gabonese Tax Code, including mineral water, chicken, and sugar.
- 5%, which applies to sales and services relating to cement.
Taxable persons are individuals or legal entities carrying out, usually or occasionally, in an independent manner, taxable operations in the scope of an economic activity and for an onerous consideration.
The aforesaid persons, subject to CIT or personal income tax (PIT), being registered or not, are liable to VAT should their turnover out of taxes reach XAF 150 million.
VAT on real estate
According to Article 248 ter of the Gabonese Tax Code, operations in relation to the construction or sale of real estate, such as sales of lands to build on, delivery of new buildings, or self-delivery of some buildings, carried out by persons subject to VAT in the scope of their economic activities are subject to VAT on real estate.
The taxpayer of the VAT on real estate is the builder of the building.
The VAT is payable on the delivery date.
The deeds relating to the transfer of buildings subject to VAT on real estate are subject to registration formalities.
The VAT on real estate is calculated based on the sale price as determined by the parties or on the real value of the real estate in case it is superior.
The applicable rate is 18%.
Deferred payment of VAT on importations
According to Article 238 new of the Gabonese Tax Code, industrial and exporter companies are allowed to proceed to a deferred payment of VAT due on importations of goods, notably materials, equipment, industrial machinery, and spare parts where the total value exceeds XAF 100 million, subject to the fulfilment of the following required and cumulative conditions:
- Being compliant with their obligations with regard to declaration and payment of taxes.
- Being compliant with their customs obligations.
- Benefiting from a credit removal in relation to a commission agent authorised by the customs services.
Operations that do not give rise to VAT deduction are excluded from the benefit of the deferred VAT payment mechanism.
Special Solidarity Contribution (SSC)
SSC is a tax levied on the sale of goods and the provision of services rendered or used in Gabon based on similar principles as VAT.
The SSC must be invoiced by the taxpayers (natural and legal persons) carrying out, on as usual or occasional basis, taxable transactions whose annual turnover, excluding taxes, is at least XAF 30 million.
The arrangements for the taxation of the said contribution are similar to those applicable to VAT.
This contribution aims to replace the contribution to Health Insurance (ROAM) that was formerly due by operators of the mobile telecommunication sector.
The SSC is calculated based on the amount invoiced, out of taxes.
The applicable rate is 1%.
Gabon is member of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC), a customs union that comprises countries from Central Africa.
Merchandise entering into the CEMAC customs territory is subject to importation duties registered into the Customs Tariff.
Four customs regimes are available in Gabon, notably one standard regime and three specific regimes (an exemption regime, a temporary admission regime, and a reduced tax regime).
Apart from customs duties, the importation of merchandise in Gabon is subject to the community tax of integration (CCI) at a rate of 0.4% and to the OHADA withholding (duty) at a rate of 0.05% of the customs value of the imported merchandise.
The Finance Act for 2018 has introduced, as of 1 January 2018, a contribution to the African Union (CAF) that is due on the importation within the custom territory of products originating from states that are not members of the African Union.
The CAF is paid at a single rate of 0.2% of the customs value of the products originating from states that are not members of the African Union.
Excise duty principally applies to luxury goods, such as alcoholic drinks, perfume and cosmetic products, caviar, salmon, cigars, and cigarettes.
The rates of the excise duty are between 5% and 25%.
The Financial Act for 2018 has extended the list of products subject to excise duties and has provided a decrease of the former excise duty rates.
The Finance Act for 2018 has also introduced, in addition to the ad valorem rate, a specific tax based on the quantities.
The excise duties are currently the following:
- Local and imported beers: 22% + XAF 80 per litre.
- Local and imported wines: 25% + XAF 80 per litre.
- Champagnes: 22% + XAF 200 per litre.
- Other beverages with more than 12° of alcohol: 22% + XAF 200 per litre.
- Soft drinks and other beverages with less than 12° of alcohol: 5%.
- Cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, tobacco: 25% + XAF 300 per package produced or imported.
- Perfume and cosmetic products: 25%.
- Games of chance: 5% + XAF 100,000 per operated machine.
- Used vehicles: 25% + XAF 50,000 per sold vehicle aged 3 years at most and XAF 100,000 per sold vehicle aged more than 3 years.
- Caviar, foie gras, salmon: 25%.
- Mobile telecommunication activities (calls): 5%.
Tax on property
Tax on buildings (Contributions Foncières des Propriétés Bâties or CFPB) is levied annually at the rate of 15% of the rental value of the building after deduction of 25% for deterioration and maintenance. For properties booked into the assets of a company’s balance sheet, the rental value of the premises is equal to 10% of the gross balance sheet value without being inferior to a tenth of the market value of the premises. However, in the hypothesis where the market value is unknown, only the gross balance sheet value has to be considered.
Tax on non-built property is levied annually at the rate of 25% of the taxable revenue corresponding to 4% to 5% of the rental value or 10% of the purchase value.
The tax on funds transfer is due on remote transfer operations carried out in Gabon at destination of countries outside the Central Africa Monetary Union (UMAC) countries.
The tax is calculated on the amount of the funds to be transferred, except for related fees and commissions paid by the giver.
The rate of the transfer tax is 1.5%.
A stamp duty is levied on all paperwork relating to civil and judicial actions and to documents that could be produced in court as evidence.
All signatories for mutually binding contracts, lenders and borrowers for loans, and ministerial officials who receive or modify deeds announcing unstamped deeds or books are jointly responsible for the payment of stamp duties and fines.
Business license tax
The business license tax applies to both individuals and entities, Gabonese and foreign, engaged in a profession, business, or industry in Gabon.
Business license tax corresponds to a professional tax borne annually. It is deductible from the taxable income for CIT purposes.
The rates of this tax vary according to the profession, business, and location within Gabon territory (this tax may vary between XAF 15,000 and XAF 540,000).
The head of the group of companies is exempted from the payment of the business license tax.
The franchise tax is a fixed annual duty varying from XAF 10,000 to XAF 500,000, according to the size, nature, and location of the company. Each company that carries on a trade, business, or activity that is not expressly exempted is liable for franchise tax.
Activities that are expressly exempted from franchise tax are those carried out by companies of provident, craftsmen, teachers and professors, lyrical and dramatic artists, farmers, cattle-breeders, fishers, etc.
Registration duties in Gabon are fixed, proportional, or progressive, depending on the nature of the acts and transfers in question.
PIT and complementary tax on salary (TCS) are withheld monthly by the employer and paid to the Treasury before the 15th day of the following month.
Social security contributions
Employers must contribute to the social security system, which consists of the National Social Security Fund (CNSS) and the National Disease Insurance and Social Guarantee Fund (CNAMGS).
The taxable basis for social security contributions to the benefit of the CNSS is made up of gross salaries, including indemnities having the function of a salary and any benefits in kind. However, there is an annual ceiling of XAF 18 million (or XAF 1.5 million per month).
The taxable basis for social security contributions to the benefit of the CNAMGS is made up of gross salaries, including taxable indemnities, up to the limit of a monthly ceiling of XAF 2.5 million.
The social security contributions due by the employer for both funds are determined according to the following rates:
|Contribution to CNSS||Rate (%)|
|Industrial accidents (work injuries)||3|
|Contribution to CNAMGS||Rate (%)|
|Health evacuation funds||0.6|
Tax on insurance premiums
Insurance or annuity agreements made with insurance companies or any other Gabonese or foreign insurer are subject to an annual obligatory tax.
The tax is levied on the sums charged by the insurer and on any accessory payments made to this party by the insured party according to the following rates:
|Nature of the policies||Rate (%)|
|Other (e.g. personal liability, transportation)||8|