The North West Regional Inspector of taxes, Joseph Gana, says the 2010 finance law has instituted penalties of 10% plus the 1.5% interest in arrears for late payment of taxes from spontaneous declarations. The Vanguard Cameroon asked him some questions.
We have been informed that the 2010 finance law has some major innovations. Can you throw more light on this to the tax payers?
These have been brought in by the Finance Law of 2010 that has a direct connection with this sector of activity. As to what concerns the retention of VAT and advanced income tax, as from 1st January 2010, only the State proper as a moral person, has the legal ability to retain at sources from the invoices made by contractors and suppliers for the services they render or goods they supply. Administrative public establishments and local collectivities can no longer retain. To that effect, they pay their invoices tax inclusive. It’s therefore incumbent on these service providers to invoice, collect and pay into the taxation treasury after corresponding justified deductions.
Secondly, the exoneration of VAT on certain pharmaceutical and sanitary products, some of which are usually supplied by contractors. Besides, there’s the suppression of the formality of certification of the annual fiscal and statistical declaration before its reception by the tax administration.
For your information, there’s also the exoneration of graduated stamp duty on constitution and prorogation of companies. Here, the constitution documents have to obligatorily be. The registration is gratis.
Any sanctions for tax evaders or late payment of the taxes?
There’s the institution of sanctions for opposition to the right of access of information as a privilege to the tax administration and also institution of penalties of 10% plus the 1.5% interest in arrears for late payment of taxes from spontaneous declarations. This is in a bid to improve on the declarative tendencies and the fiscal or tax culture of tax payers in general.
What is Government doing to relieve economic operators from over taxation?
Government has done a lot in this aspect. This time to begin a business, one has two years’ patent free and free registration of the business. Within this period, the businessman is expected to have been well-established before paying his taxes.
You have instituted an annual information, sensitisation and capacity building workshop for tax payers of this Region. What has so far been the impact?
We have a very positive impact. If we compare the revenue collected in 2009 to that of 2008 before I came here, I think we have an increase of over 15%. Last year, we were supposed to raise 4 billion FCFA but we succeeded to raise about 5 billion FCFA. In fact, we have a significant increase in revenue collection as far as the history of taxation of this Region is concerned. I think hard work, team work, capacity building of my collaborators, information and sensitisation of tax payers attributed to this success story.
People have got to understand that they have to pay their taxes as a civic duty, as a civic responsibility. There’s very serious fight against tax harassment and corruption practices of taxation administration officers.
Government has recently introduced franklin machines to replace movable fiscal stamps in basic education examination registration. Have you noticed any positive impact?
The franklin machines have completely stamped out fraud and embezzlement in the basic education examination registration. In fact, there’s no loss of any one franc this time. We have a significant increase in revenue collected from this sector of about 150 million FCFA whereas originally, it was difficult to have up to 50 million FCFA when movable fiscal stamps were used. You know there were a lot of counterfeited movable fiscal stamps which were used by basic education administrators and so a lot of Government money disappeared. For now, revenue from this sector is very secured.
What would you say are the difficulties your service is facing in this Region?
Means of transportation is the major problem we are facing. Most tax offices are found in Administrative head quarters which might not be the economic strong hold of the Divisions so it makes it difficult for revenue collectors to move over long distances to collect taxes. You know how vast and inaccessible our Region is.
By Munki Michael
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