Business Environment

flag Cameroon Cameroon: Business Environment

In this page: Accounting Rules | Tax Rates | Intellectual Property | Legal Framework | Standards | Business Practices


Accounting Rules

Tax Year
The fiscal year extends from 1st January to 31st December. 
Accounting Standards
The accounting standards are based on the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA).
Accounting Regulation Bodies
Ministry of Commerce
Accounting Reports
- At the end of each accounting year, the manager discloses the financial statements synthesis, in compliance with the Uniform Act regulations concerning the organization and harmonization of accounts.
-The Manager must prepare an annual report.
Publication Requirements
- An annual report must be published.
- Any modification in the presentation of the financial statements synthesis must be indicated in the annual report and, if possible, in the report of the auditor.
- The accounting documents.
Professional Accountancy Bodies
National Order of Certified Public Accountants of Cameroon
Certification and Auditing
The verification of accounts is undertaken by auditors. They are engaged in certifying the regularity and the true nature of the financial statements and to give their certification with certain reservations or to refuse it, precising the reasons. You can contact external auditors: Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Accounting News

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Tax Rates

Consumption Taxes

Nature of the Tax
Value Added Tax (VAT)
Tax Rate
The VAT rate is 19.25% (17.5% plus a 10% local surcharge)
Reduced Tax Rate
Exports and transactions carried out in free trade zones are zero-rated.
Certain essential goods are exempt, including transactions relating to the transfer of ownership of real estate and goodwill subject to transfer tax or equivalent taxation, provided such transactions are subject to registration duties; real estate transactions of all kinds carried out by non-professionals (if they are subject to registration duties); fees charged by educational institutions and universities; pesticides, fertilizers and their inputs, beef (except imported meat), pharmaceuticals, etc.; sales of petroleum products for the refuelling of airplanes of companies based in Cameroon; supplies of water and electricity for domestic consumption up to 20 m3/month and 220 kW/ month respectively; medical services; materials and equipment for producing solar and wind energy; urban public transport by bus; contracts and commissions on life insurance products with a savings component; local products sold directly by farmers, stockbreeders and fishermen; purchases of essential foodstuffs from farmers, stockbreeders and fishermen by public entities in charge of regulating or managing security stocks; interest on negotiable debt securities issued by the state, regional and local authorities; interest on loans of less than XAF 2 million granted by category 1 micro-finance institutions.
Other Consumption Taxes
Cigarettes, drinks, cosmetics, luxury items such as jewels and precious stones, slot machines, and other gaming devices are subject to an excise duty ranging from 25% to 50%. Soft drinks and private vehicles with engine capacities of 2,000 cm³ have a medium excise duty rate of 12.5%. Games of chance and entertainment not subject to the special tax on such games have a reduced excise duty rate of 5%. Mobile telephone communications and Internet services have an extra-reduced excise duty rate of 2%. Minimum excise duties apply to alcoholic beverages and tobacco. The minimum tax for 1,000 cigarette rods is set at no less than XAF 5,000 for tobacco. The minimum tax for alcoholic beverages varies based on the alcohol's nature and alcohol level per litre. Additionally, imported arms, their parts, and ammunition (from Chapter 93 of the CEMAC Code) by non-public entities are subject to a 25% excise duty based on the taxable value.
Gambling activities, including lottery, are subject to a specific tax rate of 15% of turnover.

The nightly tourist rates for different categories of hotels and accommodation facilities are as follows: 5-star hotels charge XAF 5,000, 4-star hotels charge XAF 4,000, 3-star hotels charge XAF 3,000, 2-star hotels charge XAF 1,000, and 1-star hotels along with other unclassified accommodation facilities charge XAF 500. Furnished establishments and other similar options have a nightly rate of XAF 2,000.

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Corporate Taxes

Company Tax
33% for companies with a turnover above 3 billions
27.5% for companies with a turnover below 3 billions
Tax Rate For Foreign Companies
Resident firms are taxed on worldwide income whereas non-resident companies are only liable for their Cameroon-sourced income.
An entity is deemed resident if its registered office, centre of activity, or management is located in Cameroon; if it has resident employees in Cameroon that provide services to customers; or if it has a permanent establishment in the country.
Capital Gains Taxation
Capital gains are treated as business income and taxed at the standard corporate tax rates. Capital gains arising from the sale of listed shares or the transfer of rights related to natural resources are subject to a 16.5% withholding tax. Gains derived from the transfer of stocks and shares and bonds are taxable even in the case of indirect disposals.
Capital gains paid to beneficiaries domiciled or established in a territory or state considered a tax haven are taxed at 33%.
Main Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits
Depreciation of tangible and intangible assets is tax-deductible at rates ranging from 1% to 100%. Deduction of depreciation can be carried forward indefinitely. Goodwill can also be amortised for tax purposes.
The Cameroon Tax Code does not provide any mechanism for the deduction of start-up costs, but these may be deductible over a period of two to five years based on the accounting principles of the Organisation for the Harmonisation of Business Law in Africa (OHADA).
Any payment made for the purchase of intellectual property (within the Central African Economic and Monetary Community) is deductible up to 2.5% of taxable income.
Interest costs and bad debt are generally deductible. For bad debt deductions, companies must prove they have unsuccessfully carried out measures for debt recovery.
Donations to charities are not deductible. On the other hand, payments to research and development organizations, educational, sports, philanthropic and social organisations are deductible at the rate of 0.5% of the annual turnover (the rate goes up to 5% for donations to clubs participating in the elite national competitions or to recognised organisations responsible for the organisation of official sports competitions).
Fines and taxes paid are not deductible (with the exception of business taxes regarding operations in Cameroon).
The deduction of head office overhead expenses related to operations in Cameroon and payments made for specific effective services provided by foreign individuals or companies to Cameroonian firms is subject to certain limitations. Generally, fees paid are deductible up to a maximum of 2.5% of intermediary earnings. However, for firms specializing in public works, the deduction limit is 1% of the turnover, and for design firms operating in compliance with relevant regulations, the deduction limit is 5%.
Tax losses can be carried forward for up to four years (six years for credit institutions and companies in the State portfolio undergoing restructuring). The carryback of losses is not permitted.
Other Corporate Taxes
Social security contributions payable by the employer amount to 11.2% of the salary. The contribution base is capped at XAF 750,000 per month. Employers are also required to pay a 1.75%, 2% or 5% salary contribution to the National Social Insurance Fund. The payroll tax is 2.5% of the total amount of wages and benefits in kind.
All companies are subject to a professional tax (business license tax) at varying rates based on their turnover. It amounts to 0.159% of the turnover of large companies (a minimum contribution of XAF 5 million and a maximum of XAF 2.5 billion), 0.283% for medium-sized enterprises (a minimum contribution of XAF 141,500 and a maximum of XAF 4.5 million) and 0.494% for small businesses (a minimum contribution of XAF 50,000 and a maximum of XAF 140,000). Newly incorporated businesses are exempt from this tax in their first year of operation.
A 16.5% WHT is to be deducted at source by entities that pay remunerations granted to the board members of public institutions, public corporations, and semi-public companies in any capacity.
Stamp duties range from XAF 1,000 to XAF 1,500. Registration fees are also levied on most transactions (listed by the General Tax Code) at rates ranging from 1% to 15%. The sale of a company is subject to a 15% transfer duty.
The property tax is levied at 0.1% of the assessed value of a property.
A tourist tax is levied according to the type of hotel, between XAF 500 and 5,000.
A special tax on petroleum products is payable by companies distributing taxable products. The rate is XAF 110 per litre on super gasoline, XAF 65 per litre on petroleum diesel, and XAF 70 per cubic metre of industrial natural gas.
Other Domestic Resources
Consult Doing Business Website, to obtain a summary of the taxes and mandatory contributions.

Country Comparison For Corporate Taxation

  Cameroon Sub-Saharan Africa United States Germany
Number of Payments of Taxes per Year 44.0 36.6 10.6 9.0
Time Taken For Administrative Formalities (Hours) 624.0 284.8 175.0 218.0
Total Share of Taxes (% of Profit) 57.7 47.3 36.6 48.8

Source: Doing Business - Latest available data.

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Individual Taxes

Tax Rate

Net Personal Income Tax on salaries Progressive rate from 11% to 38.5% (all rates include the 10% surcharge)
From XAF 0 to 2,000,000 11%
From XAF 2,000,001 to 3,000,000 16.5%
From XAF 3,000,001 to 5,000,000 27.5%
More than XAF 5,000,000 38.5%
Minimum tax (does not apply to workers and natural persons subject to the discharging system) 2.2% or 5.5% of turnover, depending on the tax regime applicable to the taxpayer
Net incomes from other activities 33%
Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits

Allowable deductions include business expenses (up to 30% of the taxable salary) and social security contributions. All individuals are entitled to an annual abatement of a fixed amount of XAF 500,000 for wages and salaries.

When assessing employment income, the gross amount of various forms of compensation such as wages, pensions, salaries, annuities, and both cash and non-cash benefits granted to the individual is taken into account. Nevertheless, certain allowances enjoy tax exemptions. These include special allowances for duty-related expenses, family allowances and benefits, benefits provided by state authorities as mandated by law, scholarships, temporary allowances, and benefits, as well as life annuities for victims of industrial accidents and other eligible recipients. Benefits in kind are evaluated based on specific percentages of the taxable income, including housing (15%), electricity (4%), water (2%), servants (5%), vehicles (10%), and food (10%). Cash allowances that represent benefits in kind are also included in the assessment, up to the specified rates, unless they are exempted by specific provisions.

Special Expatriate Tax Regime
There is no special tax regime for expatriates, who are taxed on their Cameroon-source income.
Foreigners who stay in Cameroon for more than 183 days in a calendar year are considered tax domiciled in Cameroon.

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Double Taxation Treaties

Countries With Whom a Double Taxation Treaty Have Been Signed
See the list of the conventions signed by Cameroon
Withholding Taxes
Dividends: 16.5% (10% surcharge included), Interest: 16.5% (10% surcharge included), Royalties: 15% (no surcharge applies).

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Sources of Fiscal Information

Tax Authorities
Overview of Cameroon's tax measures in response to Covid-19
Directorate General of Taxes
Other Domestic Resources
Cameroon Tax Legislation

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Intellectual Property

National Organisations
Cameroon has signed an agreement at the time of the establishment of the World Organisation of Intellectual Property (WIPO). You can contact the Directorate of Technological Development and Industrial Property by Email.
Regional Organisations
Cameroon is a member of the African Intellectual Property Organization since 24th February 1999.
International Membership
Member of the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization)
Signatory to the Paris Convention For the Protection of Intellectual Property

National Regulation and International Agreements

Type of property and law Validity International Agreements Signed
The Bangui Agreement of March 1977
20 years
Agreement revising the Bangui Agreement of 2nd March 1977, after the creation of the African Intellectual Property Organization on 24th February 1999
10 years, renewable for consecutive periods of 10 years
Agreement Revising the Bangui Agreement of March 2, 1977, on the Creation of an African Intellectual Property Organization, February 24, 1999
5 years, renewable for two further consecutive periods of 5 years   
Law no. 2000/011 related to copyright
10 years Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms
Rome ConventionFor the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations
WIPO Copyright Treaty
Industrial Models
Bangui Agreement of March 1977
20 years  

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Legal Framework

Independence of Justice
Judiciary is not independent in Cameroon and is highly subject to political influence. A high degree of corruption exists in the country.
Equal Treatment of Nationals and Foreigners
Foreigners cannot expect a fair trial from the country's judicial system.
The Language of Justice
The judicial languages in the country are French and English.
Recourse to an Interpreter
The Cameroonian government provides for interpreters for defendants. However, these interpreters are called only once the trial starts. Thus, for all the steps before the trial, one has to make do without an interpreter. In addition, the transmission of legal information is always problematic. The message is often distorted and the interpreter does not always find the right words to translate it.
Sources of the Law and Legal Similarities
The main source of the law is the constitution of 1972 (approved by referendum, and revised in January 1996) which is based on the French civil law system. The country accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction.
Checking National Laws Online
Laws on finances 2013 (in French)
Cameroon Laws

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National Standards Organisations
Standards and Quality Agency
Integration in the International Standards Network
Cameroon is a member of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and the Francophonie and Standardization Network (RNF). It is also a member of the African Intellectual Property Organization (AIPO), the Paris Convention concerning intellectual protection, as well as a member of the International Organization for Intellectual Property.
Classification of Standards
The Cameroonian standards are the NC, derived from the French and the international (ISO) ones.
Online Consultation of Standards
The Cameroonian standards are available yet on the ANOR website.
Certification Organisations
Standards and Quality Agency

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Business Practices

General Information
Guide of Cameroon (Commisceo)
Opening Hours and Days
Banks as well as Government offices are open from Monday to Friday from 7h30 to 15h00.
Shops are open from 9h00 to 12h00 and in the afternoon from 15h00 to 18h00 from Monday to Saturday.

Public Holidays

New Year 1st January
Aid el Adha Variable
Aid el Fitr Variable
Youth Day 11th February
Saint Friday March or April
Labor Day 1st May
Ascension May
National Day 20th May
Assumption 15th August
Christmas 25th December

Periods When Companies Usually Close

Christmas (companies function at a slackened pace during this period) 15th December to 5th January
The Easter week variable according to the year

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Latest Update: April 2024