Business Environment

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

 

Accounting Rules

Tax Year
The tax year is the calendar year.
Accounting Standards
The Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa released a Uniform Act on Accounting and Financial Information (AUDCIF), which came into effect on January 1, 2018 for individual accounts and on January 1, 2019 for consolidated accounts, combined accounts, and financial statements prepared in accordance with IFRS.
As of 1 January 2019, IFRS Standards are required for all listed companies and companies making a public call for capital. Small and medium enterprises are required to follow either the SYSCOHADA system or IFRS standards.
Accounting Regulation Bodies
Organisation for the Harmonisation of Business Law in Africa (OHADA)
West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA)
Accounting Reports
According to art. 8 of the Accounting Act of the Organisation for the Harmonisation of Business Law in Africa, companies must publish a balance sheet, a profit and loss account, a statement of cash flows and notes to the financial statements.
All listed companies and companies making a public call for capital must use IFRS standards for their financial statements. Small and medium enterprises are required to follow either the SYSCOHADA system or IFRS standards.
Publication Requirements
Public limited companies must submit audited financial statement every year. Limited liability companies must appoint an auditor in one of the following cases: capital of more than XOF 10 million; more than 50 employees; or a turnover of XOF 250 million or more.
Professional Accountancy Bodies
(OECCA - Ordre des Experts-Comptables et Comptables Agréés du Bénin)
Certification and Auditing
According to art. 376 of the Uniform Act on Commercial Companies of the Organisation for the Harmonization of Corporate Law in Africa (OHADA), private limited companies are required to appoint at least one auditor if their capital exceeds XOF 10 million and they meet, at the end of the fiscal year, one of following conditions: the annual turnover is greater than XOF 250 million; or the number of permanent staff exceeds fifty people. For private limited companies that do not meet these criteria, the appointment of an auditor is optional. Nevertheless, such an appointment maybe requested in court by one or more members holding at least one-tenth of the stated capital.
In public limited companies, supervision is exercised by one or more auditors.
Accounting News

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Tax Rates

Consumption Taxes

Nature of the Tax
Value added Tax (VAT) - Taxe sur la valeur ajoutée (Local name)
Tax Rate
18% (standard rate)
Reduced Tax Rate
Certain activities are exempt, including banking and general insurance, imports of certain products, electric and hybrid motorcycles, books and newspapers, agricultural activities, gas for domestic consumption, works of art sold by the author, and externally financed government contracts (in some cases). An exemption from all customs duties, taxes, and VAT is available on health equipment, materials, and other health inputs used in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Exports of goods and services are zero-rated.
Other Consumption Taxes
Excise duties are levied on the following goods: tobacco and cigarettes (100%), beverages (7% to 45%), wheat flour (1%), perfumes and cosmetics (10%), oils and dietary fat (1%), coffee (10%), tea (10%), plastic bags (5%), marble, gold bar or precious stones (10%).
Companies' vehicles are also subject to taxation (between XOF 150,000 and 200,000, according to the size of the engine). From 2022 an Urban Development Charge (RAU) and a Corridor Security Charge (RSC) are introduced on imports, as follows: RAU is levied at the rate of 0.5% ad valorem on all imported goods subject to a consumer regime (except basic necessities such as sugar, milk, pharmaceutical products, and agricultural inputs); RSC is levied at the rate of 0.5% ad valorem rate on all imported goods subject to a transit procedure (except for hydrocarbons destined for neighbouring countries and uranium from Niger).

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Corporate Taxes

Company Tax
30%
Tax Rate For Foreign Companies
Resident companies are subject to tax on Benin-source profits and foreign-source dividends, interest, royalties and capital gains, but not on foreign-source industrial and commercial profits. Non-resident companies are taxable only on Benin-source income and on the rental value of their Benin property.
Branches of foreign companies are taxed in the same way as domestic companies.
Capital Gains Taxation
Capital gains derived from the disposal of business assets are taxed at the ordinary company income tax rate unless new investment is made within 3 years (under conditions). If the taxpayer ceases his activities or disposes of his business during the three-year period, the capital gains to be reinvested will be taxed immediately.
Capital gains of non-resident corporations are taxed at 30%.
Main Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits
Deductions normally are allowed for expenses incurred in generating income. Management fees may be deducted if they are reasonable for the services rendered.
Interest paid on loans is deductible if the rates charged correspond to those of the market. The total amount of net deductible interest due annually on all debts contracted by a company is limited to 30% of the result before tax, interest, depreciation and provisions. However, the part of interest that is not immediately deductible may be carried forward and deducted within the limit of five years.
Amounts paid to the head office and technical assistance costs are deductible, provided that the taxpayer can prove that they correspond to real operations and that they are at arm's length.
Losses can be carried forward for up to three years. The carryback of losses is not permitted.
Other Corporate Taxes
Other corporate taxes include: a 4% payroll tax (Versement patronal sur salaires - VPS); social security contribution equal to 15.4% of gross salary are payable by the employer (6.4% pension and a 9% family allowance), plus 1% to 4% for industrial injury insurance (according to the level of risk); apprenticeship taxes; stamp duties; a duty of XOF 6,000 for capital increases; a tax of 8% on the transfer of land, buildings, and on the transfer of shares that results in the takeover of a company; a real property tax of 6% of the rental value for a developed property and 5% for an undeveloped property; a tax on a company's vehicles (between XOF 150,000 and 200,000, according to the size of the engine), an annual radio tax of XOF 1,000 and an annual television tax of XOF 3,000.
A tax for the development of sports is levied on big companies, with the taxable base represented by turnover (excluding taxes) at a rate of 1.
Contracts for insurance of assets in Benin are subject to insurance tax at rates from 0.25% (export credit) to 20% (fire).
Other Domestic Resources
Directorate-General for taxation
Consult Doing Business Website, to obtain a summary of the taxes and mandatory contributions.
 

Country Comparison For Corporate Taxation

  Benin Sub-Saharan Africa United States Germany
Number of Payments of Taxes per Year 54.0 36.6 10.6 9.0
Time Taken For Administrative Formalities (Hours) 270.0 284.8 175.0 218.0
Total Share of Taxes (% of Profit) 48.9 47.3 36.6 48.8

Source: Doing Business - Latest available data.

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Individual Taxes

Tax Rate

Individual income tax Progressive annual rates range from 0% to 30%
Less than XOF 50,000 0%
Between XOF 50,001 and 130,000 10%
Between XOF 130,001 and 280,000 per year 15%
Between XOF 280,001 and 530,000 per year 20%
More than XOF 530,000 per year 30%
Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits
The first XOF 50,000 of employment income are exempt from taxation. Deductions are available for dependent children, with the tax due being reduced as follows:

- 0% in case of one dependent child
- 5% in case of two dependent children
- 10% in case of three dependent children
- 15% in case of four dependent children
- 20% in case of five dependent children
- 23% in case of six or more dependent children.
Special Expatriate Tax Regime
An individual who has is tax domicile in Benin is normally subject to taxation on worldwide income, while individuals not domiciled in the country are taxed only on Benin-source income.
Domicile is based on habitual residence, which can be proved by a permanent home, principal place of residence or centre of economic interests.
Foreign-source income that already has been taxed may be exempt under an international tax treaty.

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Double Taxation Treaties

Countries With Whom a Double Taxation Treaty Have Been Signed
Benin Tax Treaties
Withholding Taxes
Dividends: 15%/10% (regularly distributed amounts)/5% (regularly distributed amounts to non-residents)/7% (dividends distributed by a company whose shares are listed on an approved stock exchange in the WAEMU); Interest: 15%; Royalties: 10% (paid to a foreign individual)/12% (paid to a foreign company)

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Intellectual Property

National Organisations

Regional Organisations
Benin is a member of WIPO and of the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI).

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Legal Framework

Independence of Justice
Although the constitution provides for an independent judiciary, the courts are inefficient and susceptible to corruption. The process of nominating and promoting judges lacks transparency (especially after the decision of President Talon to appoint his personal lawyer as president of the Constitutional Court). According to Freedom House, lack of resources contributes to often lengthy pretrial detentions, with arbitrary arrest and detention carried on by the police.
Transparency International’s 2016 assessment revealed that the national integrity system of Benin was weak overall, with the judiciary identified as the weakest of the thirteen public and private sector institutions assessed.
Equal Treatment of Nationals and Foreigners
The constitution prohibits discrimination based on race, gender, and disability, but not sexual orientation. In general, foreigners can expect a fair trial.
The Language of Justice
French
Recourse to an Interpreter
It is possible to have an interpreter in Benin.
Sources of the Law and Legal Similarities
The legal system of Benin is influenced by the French system, although traditional local customary laws have still an important role (however, most of these customs have been included into codes and written laws). The main source of the law is the constitution, although the country is also a member of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and the Organisation for the Harmonization of Corporate Law in Africa (OHADA), whose regulations are implemented in the country.
Checking National Laws Online
Library of the Congress
Droit Afrique - Benin

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Standards

National Standards Organisations
National Agency for Normalisation, Metrology and Quality Control (ANM)
Integration in the International Standards Network
The ANM is a member of ISO.
Classification of Standards
BEN
Online Consultation of Standards
ISO website - Benin standards consultation
Certification Organisations
National Agency for Normalisation, Metrology and Quality Control (ANM)

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Business Practices

General Information
Opening Hours and Days

Banks: Monday to Friday 8am to 12.30pm and 3pm to 6.30pm; Saturday 9am to 1pm.
Shops and Businesses: Monday to Saturday 8am to noon and 3pm to 7pm.

 

Public Holidays

New Year's Day 1 Jan
Vaudoun Day 10 Jan
Easter Monday 22 Apr
Labour Day 1 May
Ascension Day 30 May
Korité 4 Jun
Whit Monday 10 Jun
Independence Day 1 Aug
Tabaski 11 Aug
Assumption Day 15 Aug
All Saints' Day 01 Nov
Maouloud 09 Nov
Christmas Day 25 Dec
 
Holiday Compensation
The law does not provide for a compensation day in case a holiday falls on a non-working day. However, if a person has to work overtime during a holiday or a Sunday, he/she is entitled to a 50% increase of the normal pay (art. 147 of the Labour Code).
 

Periods When Companies Usually Close

Closure for Easter End of March/Early April
Closure for Christmas End of December
 

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Latest Update: November 2022