Rights & Guarantees of Taxpayers in Cameroon
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In every business, a customer must be treated with respect, thus the saying ‘a customer is king’. The tax administration in Cameroon has put in place measures to make sure that taxpayers are regarded as customers and hence have to be treated as one. Before these changes, tax officers were regarded as demi-gods especially that were ignorant of the fact that taxpayers in Cameroon have rights and guarantees especially when tax audits are carried out.
The tax procedures provides that taxpayers be not only respected but also protected. Tax officials therefore have the duty to work together with taxpayers as they fulfill their tax obligations. They should not only try to get more money for the government coffers but also be process facilitators as they provide the necessary information as well as protect the rights of taxpayers.
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Right of the tax authorities to carry out tax audits
The tax authorities in Cameroon have the right to carry out controls. However, what many don’t know is that it is not everyone who works in the tax office that could do that. I once had an experience whereby unknown persons came to my business place in my absence claiming they are from the tax office. Since the person in charge was not very versed in tax issues, she was threatened that the place will be sealed if she didn’t give them some specific amount of money. She called me and I discovered that they were people from the municipal council asking documents which they had no right to ask. That’s just an isolated case.
Who carries out a tax audit?
Not every tax authority that can carry out tax audits or controls. Section M.9 of The General tax Code of Cameroon states only sworn tax officers with at least the rank of an inspector have the right to “control the bases of all taxes payable by the taxpayers whom they inspect”. Section M.11 insists that such tax officers with the rank of an inspector must carry along their professional cards and a ‘copy of the audit notice’. This means that taxpayer must assure that the authority is a sworn tax officer with at least the rank of an inspector. The said inspector must carry along his/her badge without which the tax payer has the right to refuse them from carrying out such audits.
NB: You have the right to collect a photocopy of the officer’s badge if need be for backup and verification purposes in future.
Rights and guarantees taxpayers in Cameroon
The tax system provides for certain rights and guarantees to taxpayers in Cameroon. It comes in the form of rights and guarantees with regards to tax audits and rights and guarantees with regards to other relations with the tax authorities. Most taxpayers in Cameroon are unaware of such rights and guarantees. The directorate general of taxation is working hard to create a tax culture where those paying their taxes regularly will feel proud and encourage other citizens to willingly do so too.
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With a transparent and fair auditing process, the taxpayers will create trust towards the tax administration. In my next post, I will share with you information that you as a taxpayer needs to know when it comes to your rights and guarantees within the framework of a tax audit.
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