2019 Fiscal Year : Gov’t Leverages Network Operators To Collect Taxes

There will be possibility for mobile electronic payments while mobile network service providers will directly retain taxes for certain softwares and applications downloaded using their network.

In a bid to simplify revenue collection and make the process convenient, rapid and appealing to users, the government has in the 2019 finance law incorporated payment by electronic means. It has also given the mandate to mobile telephone network service providers to retain certain taxes.

To boost the mobilization of income, as concerns taxation and collection of customs duties, the finance law allows for “electronic payment of customs duties and taxes, in particular through secure platform integrating telephone companies.”

Going by Article 226 of the finance law, “software imported through downloading using telephones and computers for the operation of these supports shall be subject to customs duties and taxes at the flat rate of CFA 200 francs per application, except those falling within the scope of the exemptions provided for in Article 276 of the CEMAC Customs Code and its implementing texts. These duties and taxes shall be collected and paid in monthly to the Customs Administration by the telephone company that served the connection for the download.”

Pauline Tsafack, Director of Regulation of Post and Telecommunications in the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, said the innovation was put in place against the backdrop of certain goods entering the country without undergoing customs clearance or consumed without paying the appropriate value-added taxes. She readily cited smartphones and certain softwares and applications. “Once you use a new smart phone, the operator will immediately detect the new IMEI and the appropriate customs duty which was supposed to be paid at the point of entry will be deducted from the user’s airtime account,” she said, indicating that its not a new tax but a new procedure.

When Cameroon Tribune contacted the two leading mobile network service providers amongst the four operating in the country, they said they were yet to take official positions in relation to the development. “We are still studying how its going to work out. For now, we have not yet started collection. We shall work with officials of the Ministry of finance to set things straight,” an official of one the telecoms company who preferred not to be named said.

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