The right to control taxes: on-the-spot check
In Cameroon, tax officers with the rank of an inspector have the power to control the bases of all taxes payable by taxpayers. They’re also the only ones allowed to carry out an on-the-spot check on the taxpayer.
As explained in a previous post, A sworn tax officer has the right to control taxpayers, the State has the mandate, according to legislation, to collect taxes, duties, levies, excise duties from business transactions carried out within the territorial boundaries of Cameroon.
All those carrying out income making activities within the borders of Cameroon are obliged to pay taxes put at their charge by the legislation.
The tax administration, representing the state has the mandate to carry out controls at the premises of the taxpayer.
The government has also put in place conditions for exercising the right to control taxpayers. Today, I will share with you one of the control methods – on-the-spot check.
Conditions for on-the-spot check
Only a sworn tax officer with the rank of an inspector has the right to carry out an on-the-spot check. The tax officer is supposed be identified by making available to the taxpayer his/her professional card.
They also need to show a copy of the control or audit notice which allows them to carry out an on-the-spot control of the taxpayers account.
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Where to carry out controls
An on-the-spot check could be carried out at the office of the taxpayer or at the main establishment in case it’s different from the office.
If this isn’t possible, the taxpayer could request for it to be carried out in the office of the tax authority or that of the business’ accountant.
During an on-the-spot check, the entire fiscal situation of the taxpayer maybe liable be audit. The tax authority may control the consistency of the income declared, assets, cash position as well as the lifestyle of the taxpayer, if it’s a natural person.
Before an on-the-spot check is carried out
The tax officer doesn’t just surprise the taxpayer for an on-the-spot check. The tax authority has to send a notice to the taxpayer using registered mail or direct delivery with an acknowledgment of receipt. In the case of a registered mail, a mail delivery register will be used.
This has to be done at least 15 (fifteen) days before the date fixed for the tax audit. The audit notice must carry the date fixed for the control as well as informing the taxpayer to hire a consultant of their choice to assist.
It should be noted that the consultant must not be a tax advisor – as the legislator puts it, it can be anyone chosen by the taxpayer.
The audit notice must also come alongside a copy of the taxpayers charter. Failure to have all these, the notice is considered null and void.
Worthy to note
15 (fifteen) days is not the same as 15 (fifteen) working days. The former includes weekends and public holidays, while the latter doesn’t including weekends and public holidays.
In this case, if you receive an on-the-spot check notice, know that weekends and public holidays are also counted.
Was this helpful? You can drop a comment below or get in touch with us for any inquiry.
In the next post, you will see what has to be done in case the audit is postponed by the tax authority or what the taxpayer has to do if they are not ready for the on-the-spot check.
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Source(s): Directorate General of taxation
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This content has been prepared for information purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, accounting or legal advice. You need to consult your own tax, accounting or legal advisors before engaging in any transaction.