How long should businesses in Cameroon keep records or written evidence for tax purposes?
The Cameroon tax system relies on self-declaration by taxpayers. This means the the taxpayer is responsible for coming up with how much they can declare as their income and expenses. You are obliged to show fully how you arrived with the figures you present. You can now declare your taxes online in Cameroon.
There are also cases where you are required to provide written evidence such as invoices, receipts, delivery notes, etc. for control or investigation.
Why do you have to keep records?
Keeping good records for your business will help you to monitor its progress. You should not keep records for your business just to meet up the requirements demanded by the tax administration. Below are some reasons you should keep records for you business. It helps you:
- Identify the sources of income for your business
- Provide written evidence of both your income and expenses
- Keeps track of expenses (especially deductible)
- Prepare financial statements for your business (cash flow statement, balance sheet, income statement, etc)
- To help you or your tax agent prepare your statistics and tax returns
- Improve communication with the tax authority
- Avoid your business or you from being exposed to penalties
- Can be used as prove when needed in a tax control or investigation
What type of records should you keep?
You may choose the type of records to keep and how to keep them for your business. The legislation may not require any special kind of records to be kept. That notwithstanding, you need to ensure the records you keep for tax purposes clearly shows your income and expenses. Your type of business could also affect the type of records you should keep especially for tax purposes.
How long are you supposed to keep records?
For tax purposes, you need to keep your written evidence for at least ten years in Cameroon. Your accounting documents including invoices, books and registers can be requested for a control or investigation by the tax authority for a period of ten years.
The period is determined based on:
- the date the last operation was recorded or
- the date the document was drawn up
The records you keep for your business depends solely on you However, make sure you start keeping many records than not having enough when the need arises. This is because the tax controllers may come anytime for impromptu controls which may involve old records.
How should you keep records?
According to tax legislation, taxpayers can keep records in paper or digital format. If you have to make a paper or digital copy, ensure they are true and clear copy of the original. The records to be kept should be in English or French unless you incurred an expense outside of Cameroon.
Recommendation: It is very important for you to keep a backup of all your digital records. If you need help to back-up your digital records, get in touch with us to offer you the best solutions.
What type of records should be kept?
Your records can be organized in the following categories:
- Payment received and expenses related to the payments
- Disposal or acquisition of assets (shares or rental property)
- Donations, contributions and tax-deductible gifts
It is recommended for you to keep a record of all income and expenses.
Other documents to be kept
There are other documents that the taxpayer is obliged to produce upon request by the tax authority. These include:
- Stocks and shares transfer registers
- Attendance sheets
- Meeting minutes of shareholders
- Minutes of board meetings
- Management report that has been approved by the shareholders or partners
- Auditors reports and
- Regulated agreements where applicable
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