By Nformi Sonde Kinsai

As proprietors of pieces of land, whether built or not built on, based in the cities of Douala and Yaounde, have begun to declare and pay their taxes using the mobile money services since January 1, 2015, low charges on amounts to be transferred through the mobile phones have been announced as some of the numerous advantages awaiting this category of tax payers.

The revelation was made in Yaounde recently by the Director General of Taxation, Modeste Mopa Fatoing, in a presentation on mobile tax. The occasion was the signing of contracts between the Government of Cameroon represented by the Minister of Finance, Alamine Ousmane Mey, on the one hand, and on the other by the General Managers of Orange Cameroun, Elizabeth Medou Badang and of MTN Cameroon, Karl Olutokun Toriola, respectively.

Other officials who attended the ceremony included the Ministers of Land Tenure, Elizabeth Koung a Bissike, Post & Telecommunications, Jean Pierre Biyiti Bi Essam and the Minister Delegate in the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation, MINATD, Jules Doret Ndongo.

Modeste Mopa had outlined that those paying the landed property tax through mobile money will be charged as low as FCFA 10 for amounts between FCFA 1 and FCFA 2,500 while those whose amounts are evaluated at between FCFA 2,501 and FCFA 10,000 will be charged FCFA 25. People with amounts from FCFA 10,000 to FCFA 50,000 will pay FCFA 50 as charges and those with figures from FCFA 50,001 to FCFA 200,000 will be charged FCFA 100. He added that amounts, ranging from FCFA 200,001 to FCFA 300,000 will pay FCFA 250 as charges while landed property owners whose taxes are evaluated at between FCFA 300,001 and FCFA 500,000 will be charged FCFA 400.

In addition to the low charges, the Director General of Taxation remarked that the pre-filling of the declaration form and payment of the taxes through mobile money is a tool that will resolve the practical difficulties landed property owners have been facing in carrying out their fiscal obligations. Mopa said this category of tax payers can conveniently pay their taxes using their mobile phones from the comfort of their homes or offices, without moving to the tax centres; grappling with constraints of opening and closing hours; waiting on long queues in front of payment counters, lateness in the issuance of receipts, among others.

Disclosing that this new method will progressively be extended to other tax regimes, Mopa stated that the rate of the tax is 0.1 percent of the total cost of the landed property and owners are required by law to pay by March 15, 2015 latest. He strongly advised people to get their pre-filled declarations and pay within the time frame to avoid penalties for lateness.

“The modern management of taxes places the relationship of people requesting for services at the centre of fiscal administration. The satisfaction of the tax payer is, therefore, a fundamental exigency to which the Mobile Tax is in place to respond to,” Mopa maintained.

On why new and modern modes of payments of taxes are being introduced, the Director General said they are out to modernise tax administration by providing quality services to tax payers in order to improve on fiscal behaviours. He disclosed that they are also working hard to reduce the cost of fiscal discipline by limiting physical movements of tax payers to the tax centres; easing and simplifying payment procedures for tax payers and securing revenue through the elimination of manipulation of physical cash.

Tax payers can, free-of-charge, open their mobile money accounts with MTN Cameroon and Orange Cameroun in all sales points of the telephony companies across the national territory.

“In order to facilitate the process, kiosks for creation of such accounts will be opened in all the regional and divisional tax centres from the 10th to the 15th of every month,” Mopa disclosed.

After receiving pre-filled declaration from the tax administrators, the tax payers can then proceed to the payment of the dues using a unique number appearing on the pre-filled declaration form. Those who have Mobile Money accounts with MTN Cameroon are expected to dial the code *126*1# while those with Orange Money accounts hosted by Orange Cameroun should dial the code #150# to proceed with their payments.

Dwelling on perspectives, Mopa stated that the tax administration is envisaging a number of measures; once the pilot phase of the Mobile Tax is through. These include the extension of the Mobile Tax initiative to all the regions of the country, while, hitherto payments made in cash, such as the registration of purchase orders and buying of stamps, will then be done through mobile money.

Electronic payment of taxes by enterprises of the Large Tax Unit in place of bank transfer is also in the pipeline. It was explained that this evolution would permit them to do payments through the internet as it is done within the framework of the E-Tax system.