Cameroon Tribune | Businesses absent on taxpayers’ data base will be barred from customs clearance operations.
Many businessmen importing and exporting goods without payment of taxes have been causing government to lose income every year by the billions, sources in the Taxation Department of the Ministry of Finance in Yaounde have disclosed, saying that measures have been taken to eradicate the recurrent tax evasions.
The Minister of Finance issued a press release recently, stating that importers and exporters who are not on the active taxpayers’ data base of the Directorate of Taxation will no longer be able to carry out customs clearance operations until they regularise their tax situation.
The statement further indicates that besides enlistment on the data base, the said businesses are also obliged to fulfil other financial obligations (monthly) in order to be maintained on it. We gathered it is due to a discovery of discrepancies in import-export figures declared by the customs and taxation departments that an investigation was carried out to detect loopholes in the revenue collection chain for international trading and tighten the noose.
It showed huge amounts (in quantity and quality) of goods declared on the customs data base were not reflected on tax income- payment of VAT and other related taxes.
The Minister’s release said diplomatic missions, public administrations and international organisations, transactions pertaining to goods on transit as well as individuals importing goods for personal use are exempted from the new rule. We learned many businessmen were using the exemption of taxes on goods destined for personal use to import and export goods for business purposes.
“We discovered importation of a consignment worth FCFA 500 million by someone who claimed they were for personal use. So we introduced fixed limits on quantity and quality for this category,” our source said.
With the use of new digital technology that prevents direct person-toperson customs duties and taxation payment transactions, government is said to be able to curb fraud.
We further learned that any company that does not meet its tax obligations for three consecutive months would henceforth be dropped from the active taxpayers’ data base.
This means that whenever they want to import or export, the digital system jointly run by taxation and customs authority would signal that they have to re-register. Registration entails submission of business registration papers, localisation plan, payment of land tax or submission of lease contract etc.
An official of the taxation told Cameroon Tribune that the obligatory registration on the active taxpayers’ data base of the Directorate of Taxation is only one of many measures taken to kill fiscal fraud in import and export trade.