Tax obligations for foreign business activities in Cameroon
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As early as the 70s, Cameroon negotiated and signed several important texts aimed mainly at avoiding double taxation of income from foreign business activities in Cameroon and preventing tax evasion or establishing mutual assistance rules in tax-related matters.
As of December 31st, 2022, there are ten tax treaties in force in Cameroon. These include bilateral treaties between Cameroon and countries such as the French Republic; Canada; Tunisia; the Swiss Confederation; the Republic of South Africa; the Federal Republic of Germany; and the Kingdom of Morocco and multilateral conventions such as the double taxation convention on income between CEMAC member states; the convention on mutual administrative assistance in tax matters drawn up in 1988 and amended in 2010; and the Multilateral Convention to implement tax treaty-related measures to prevent base erosion and profit shifting.
Other than the above treaties, foreigners (natural persons or companies) without a head office in Cameroon but carrying out business activities therein are subject to registration and tax declaration formalities.
Registration and tax declaration of foreign business activities in Cameroon
In Cameroon, save the existence of a treaty for the avoidance of double taxation of income, foreigners without a head office in Cameroon but carrying out business activities therein must be registered with the tax administration and make the required tax declarations.
For the registration and tax declaration formalities, the foreigner must appoint a solvent representative accredited by the tax authorities. Upon this registration, a Tax Identification Number (TIN) shall be granted to the foreigner to make the required tax declarations.
In consideration of the income derived from their activities in Cameroon, these foreigners are required to spontaneously declare and make an advance payment representing either 2%, 5%, 10%, 14%, or 20% of their turnover generated during the previous month no later than the 15th of each month, depending either on their tax system or the nature of their activities. This advance payment is increased by 10% for the additional communal centimes.
Furthermore, these foreigners shall file an annual declaration of the results obtained from their operations during the previous year no later than the 15th of March of each year.
From the above, respecting the registration and tax declaration formalities shall enable foreigners without a head office in Cameroon to securely carry out business activities.
The specific case of foreign operators of electronic commerce (e-commerce) platforms in Cameroon
Operators of e-commerce platforms with no head office in Cameroon must apply to be registered with the Cameroonian tax authorities, failure of which, access to the said platform shall be suspended on the Cameroonian territory.
The formalities for registration, declaration, and payment of taxes collected by the e-commerce platforms can be done online through the Internet portal of the tax administration.
For more information on this topic please contact our member 4M Legal and Tax