Cameroon, Republic of
Depreciation is generally computed on a straight-line basis over the useful life according to the rates provided for by the GTC, including those that might have already been deferred in times of deficit.
The following depreciation rates are generally accepted for tax purposes:
|Assets||Depreciation rates (%)|
|Construction||5 to 20|
|Stationary equipment and tools||5 to 20|
|Portable equipment||10 to 100|
|Transport equipment||10 to 33.33|
|Railway lines||1 to 10|
|Rehabilitation||5 to 25|
|Furniture fittings and other equipment||10 to 33.33|
|Fishing equipment and fishing vessels||15|
The deduction of depreciation can be carried forward indefinitely.
The threshold for small equipment and tools to be included in the balance sheet shall be XAF 500,000.
Depreciation rates specific to certain sectors of activity may be fixed by a separate joint instrument of the ministers in charge of finance and the sector concerned.
With regard to rules governing the deduction of provisions and depreciation, impairment of goodwill shall be allowable for CIT purposes.
There is no specific provision in the GTC relating to start-up expenses.
However, the OHADA Accounting Principles effectively state that start-up expenses shall be capitalised and must be completely depreciated as early as possible: over two to five years, except bond premiums, which are depreciated throughout the life of the loan.
No distribution of profit should be carried out before the complete depreciation of start-up expenses.
Intellectual property (IP)
Sums paid to related entities for the use of valid patents, brands, designs, and models are capped at the overall limit of 2.5% of the taxable income before the deduction of expenses claimed. When they are paid to entities located outside the CEMAC that directly or indirectly hold shares or are members of the Cameroonian entity's board of directors, they shall be considered as sums accruing from the distribution of profits. As such, they are not allowable.
Interest expenses are fully deductible.
However, the deduction of interests on sums of money left or placed at the disposal of local entities by partners or related companies who directly or indirectly own at least 25% of the share capital or corporate voting rights is capped at:
- One and a half times (1.5) the amount of equity. Interests on the portion of the loan which exceeds this limit shall be added back for CIT purposes and subject to distribution tax at 16.5%.
- 25% of profit before CIT and before deduction of the said interests and depreciation taken into account in determining such profit.
Otherwise, interests on the excess amount shall not be deductible. In this case, the excess interests paid are added back for CIT purpose and subject to distribution tax at the rate of 16.5%.
Where the two situations are met, the tax authorities will choose the one that generates the highest tax liability.
The deduction above is applicable where the following conditions are met:
- The existence of a written and duly registered loan agreement.
- The subscribed share capital has been fully paid up.
The deductibility of provisions for bad debts is subject to the following conditions:
- The debt must be specified (i.e. clarification is needed on the nature, amount, and the debtor).
- The company must show that it has unsuccessfully carried out actions for debt recovery (e.g. reminder letters, notice to pay, complaints).
For losses related to bad debts to be deductible, they should have been subjected to all amicable or forced collection methods and means provided for by the OHADA Uniform Act on the Organization of Simplified Procedures for Collection and Enforcement Procedures. Otherwise, they shall not be deductible.
In this regard, the impossibility of recovering the debt must be evidenced by:
- a deficiency report prepared by a bailiff
- a bankruptcy decision duly passed by the judge, if necessary, or
- a decision passed by a judge, bearing out the debtor who disputed the debt.
However, losses due to bad debts of an amount less that XAF 500,000, which have been provisioned over a minimum period of five years, shall be deducted automatically, without having to justify the exhaustion of the amicable or forced recovery procedures provided for by the regulations in force.
Acts of liberality, gifts, and subsidies shall not represent the charges deductible from profits.
However, payments made to research and development (R&D) bodies and to collective philanthropic, educational, sports, scientific, social, and family institutions and bodies, on condition that the latter are situated in Cameroon, shall be deductible as soon as there is proof of payment and as long as they do not exceed 0.5% of the turnover for the fiscal year. Similarly, gifts made on the occasion of a disaster shall be deducted in the form and conditions determined by order of the Minister of Economy and Finance.
Liberalities, gifts, and subsidies awarded to clubs participating in the elite national competitions or to recognised organisations responsible for the organisation of official sport competitions are deductible, provided they are justified, within the limit of 5% of the annual turnover.
Fines and penalties
Compounding fees, fines, confiscations, and any penalty concerning persons who violate legal, economic, and fiscal provisions shall not be deducted from the profits subject to taxation.
Only the professional taxes issued for collection during the fiscal year and which are to be borne by the firm in relation to the operations carried out in Cameroon shall be subject to deduction.
CIT, WHT, and PIT shall not be considered as deductible expenses for the levying of taxes.
Net operating losses
Any loss sustained in a given year can be carried forward up to the fourth year following the recording of the loss. The carryback of losses is not permitted in Cameroon.
For credit institutions and companies in the state portfolio undergoing restructuring, the excess deficit can be carried over to the sixth year following the deficit year.
Losses due to damage in inventories shall be deductible from the taxable basis when they are duly established and validated by a Commissioner of damage in the presence of a taxation officer with the rank of at least controller, under the conditions specified in the Manual of Tax Procedures.
However, for damages and breakages incurred by companies in the brewing sector, the related losses are deducted at a flat rate of 1% of the total production volume.
Payments to foreign entities
Head office overhead expenses for operations carried out in Cameroon and the remuneration of certain effective services (studies, technical, financial, or accounting assistance) provided to Cameroonian firms by foreign natural persons or corporate bodies are not totally deductible.
Fees paid are deductible up to a maximum of:
- 2.5% of intermediary earnings as a general rule
- 1% of the turnover for firms specialised in public works, and
- 5% for design firms operating in accordance with regulations relating to design firms and consulting engineers.
The notion of technical assistance shall include services provided by entities located either overseas or in Cameroon.
Expenses linked to transactions with natural persons or legal entities resident or established in a territory or state considered to be a tax haven shall not be deductible. This rule shall not apply to imports of goods made in those countries. A tax haven is any state where the tax on the income of a natural person (PIT) or legal entity (CIT) is less than a third of that paid in Cameroon, or any state or territory considered not to be co-operative in matters of transparency or of exchange of information required for fiscal purpose by international or financial organisations. The rate to be considered in Cameroon for that purpose is 35% for PIT and 30% for CIT.