CAR Tax Exemption Procedure
In order to benefit from the above tax exemption, WFP should follow the procedure described hereafter:
Early transmission to the clearing agent of all cargo related documents and the certificate of tax exemption
- Cargo related documents
Prior to the arrival of the cargo (Trucks from Douala or direct importation by air), WFP must transmit all cargo related documents to his clearing agent. The documentation includes: the commercial invoices or certificate of value, the bill of lading (for cargo transiting through the port of Douala) or the airway bill (for cargo imported by air) and the donation certificate. For food cargo only, additional documents are the phytosanitary certificates and, if available, a non-radiation or non-GMO certificate.
Certificate of tax exemption
In order to be exempt from customs duties and related taxes, WFP must imperatively submit a request for tax exemption. It should be mentioned that WFP does not benefit from a permanent and general tax exemption. Therefore, a request must be submitted for each consignment (bill of lading or airway bill) imported. To this effect, WFP must fill in and sign a special administrative form (F2 for food and ICT equipment, F3 for fuel, etc.).
Depending on the allocation of the cargo, the request for tax exemption is sent either (directly) to the customs (this is the case when the cargo is destined to the project, such as food) or to the Ministry of External Relations (MOFA), who will then transmit it to the Customs (this is the case when the cargo is not destined to the project but to be used by WFP as an asset/equipment: vehicles, V-SAT equipments, computers, etc).
It should be recalled that WFP or its forwarder must provide the following information in the request:
The reference of the agreement with the government on the basis of which the exemption from taxes is requested.
The amount of tax which should have been paid as per the common procedure, so as to estimate the loss for the government.
- Early transmission to the clearing agent
It should be mentioned that the clearing agent can not commence/finalize the clearance process without the attestation of tax exemption delivered by the customs. Therefore, WFP should ensure that this document is obtained as early as possible.
Normally the tax exemption is granted within 72 hours from the submission of the request. The clearing agent should therefore receive all the above documents (cargo related documentation and certificate of tax exemption) at least 8 days before the expected time of arrival of the cargo in order to have sufficient time to clear the goods.
Clearance of the cargo at the customs
The clearing agent must commence the customs clearance process as soon as he has all the documents listed above (cargo related documents and the tax exemption certificate). He should raise a customs declaration for home use. As mentioned above, WFP (and other UN agencies) is exempt from customs duties, the value added tax and other customs related taxes. However, the below taxes are due for the following articles:
Computer equipment tax (0.5% of the CAF value) for the importation of equipments (computers, V-SAT, etc.)
CMF tax (0.1% of the CAF value) for the importation of vehicles.
Where applicable, once the different taxes have been paid, the ‘Bon à enlever’ is stamped on the customs declaration to certify the completion of the clearing process. Therefore the goods can be retrieved.
Direct retrieval or ‘enlèvement direct’
In case of high/urgent need of the cargo, the clearing agent can initiate a special procedure in order to retrieve the cargo from the customs before the clearing process is finalised. If the authorisation for direct retrieval of goods is granted, it is generally with strict conditions about the early regularisation of the declaration. To this effect, the Customs will clearly define a deadline when all the regularizing documents should be submitted.
Nota: It should be mentioned that WFP is exempt from the verification of importation at load port and should not raise a declaration of commercial importation in order to import goods/food in the Central African Republic.
Customs clearance at Douala port for cargo in transit to the Central African Republic
About 80% of cargo imported into the Central African Republic transits through the port of Douala. Being in transit, these cargoes are exempt from customs duties and related taxes (value added tax) applicable to importation for home use in Cameroon. However, the proof that the goods actually arrive in the Central African Republic must be submitted to the Cameroon Customs in order to close the file. Since huge financial sanctions can be incurred, it is hereby advised to refer preferably to clearing agents having a representation both in Douala and the Central African Republic in case of cargo imported through this port.
 However, WFP is not exempt from the following taxes: Redevance équipement informatique for equipments and the CMF tax (protection of the environment) for the importation of vehicles.