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The business license contribution (commonly called by it’s French name, Patent) is for all natural or corporate bodies of both Cameroonian and foreign origin that operate economic, commercial, professional or industrial activity in any council within Cameroon. It should be noted that the business license contribution is a local tax collected by the tax authorities on behalf of the local councils.

Activities that are obliged to have a business license must be lucrative, habitual or effective. The business license is assessed on the basis of the entity or natural person’s annual turnover declared.

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Who Pays the Business License Contribution in Cameroon?

For this to be possible, your business’ turnover should be equal or greater than XAF10 million. However, for those transporting goods or persons, their business license contribution is determined on the number of seats in the car or the net weight of the car. For those that deal in petroleum products like filling stations, the business license is issued in the name of the manager of the station and not the name of the owner. The tax base is determined by the amount of margin decided by the marketers.

Exemptions: Check Book Three, Part II, Chapter I Section C. 11 and C12 of the General Tax Code of Cameroon.


The business license is due for one year for all carrying out taxable activities from January 1st. The turn-over to be taken into consideration include: turn-over declared on the first day of start of activity for new businesses For activities that are more than a year old, the turn-over realized the previous year is taken into consideration.

Taxpayer Obligations

  • An obligation to declare the activity within the first 10 days even if you are exonerated

  • The taxpayer is obliged to post the business license in a visible place without which a penalty of XAF10,000 will be issued

  • The posted business license should be accompanied by the receipt of payment issued

Persons that carry out activities that requires the business license need to file in written returns to the tax center with jurisdiction within 15 days following the day the business started. Check Section C21-2 of the General Tax Code (GTC) for the what needs to be provided in the declaration.

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When to Declare Your Business License Contribution

The business license has to be declared:

– Two months that follow the beginning of the fiscal year

– Two months that follow the end of the the exoneration for Business license

– For interurban transporters of goods or persons, the business license is declared every 15 working days that follow the end of each semester.

The payment of the business license is done at the tax center of the taxpayer where the business activity is carried out. This is done with the tax center issuing a receipt after payment.

Recommended Reading: A Preview of Cameroon Tax Administration

Business License Contribution Penalties or Fines

      1. Illegal Activity: The first thing you should note is that you must first of all be carrying out a legal business activity. If not, you or the business will be penalized. If you are carrying out an activity prohibited by the law, the tax administration will issue a 100% penalty for the business license but will not issue one.

      2. Lateness: You will pay a fine of 10% per month with a maximum of 30%.

      3. If you default the payment, the tax administration shall increase the tax payable with an additional charge of 50% – 100% depending on whether a bona fide was established or not.

      4. Failure to pay the amounts due during the time period will bring about an immediate sealing of the business without wiping out the penalties.

      5. In the case of transporters of goods and persons, failure to present the business license, the vehicle will be impounded.

If you need additional help on the business license, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Meanwhile you can drop any comments below.

For additional reading, check out Cameroon Personal Income and Corporate Taxation.

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