Should no operation be made during a month, a ‘nil’ VAT return must nonetheless be submitted.
Interest and penalties
The late submission of the monthly declaration is subject to 5% late payment interest. If the late declaration does not indicate any VAT due, the penalty is XAF100,000.
The late payment of the VAT mentioned in the monthly declaration is sanctioned by a late payment interest of 10% for the first month of delay, and 3% for the following months.
Any omission noted in the monthly declaration is sanctioned by a penalty of 1,5% per month of delay, with a maximum of 50% of the evaded rights or reassessments carried out, subject to the good faith of the taxable person. This penalty can be changed to 100% and up to 150% if the bad faith of the taxable person is established.
Any request for deduction of the tax related to an invoice not corresponding, partly or entirely, with a purchase of goods or a provision of services is sanctioned by a penalty of 150% of the evaded rights.
VAT refunds are only possible in specific cases provided by the VAT legislation.
Objections and appeals
Any taxpayer who is dissatisfied with VAT imposed on him may present a written request, which is an introductory request of authority.
The procedures are the same as for other taxes as laid down in the Gabonese Tax Code.
The omissions and errors in respect of VAT payable by the taxpayer can be repaired by the Tax Administration until the expiry of the third year following the year during which the tax became due.
The omitted former deductions can be claimed until the twelfth month following the month when the deduction right occurred.
Any invoice issued in Gabon or sent to Gabonese clients must be written in French, be issued in CFA francs and indicate:
the name and address of the supplier;
the name and the address of the beneficiary;
the description of the services or goods and their quantity; and
the unitary price excluding VAT and discounts.
Any person liable for VAT must indicate its NIF number, statistic number, trade registration number, the applicable rate and the amount of VAT on the invoice.
An invoice delivered to non-taxable persons can mention one single tax- inclusive amount.
Additional export documentation
Exporters must attach to their monthly declaration the customs references of the exports carried out during the month.
The accounting books as well as the supporting documents, in particular the purchase invoices, must be kept for a period of ten years after the year during which the operations were noted in the entries.
Specific VAT rules
While petroleum activities were initially considered as outside the scope of VAT, petroleum activities (prospecting and production) are governed by two specific regimes which depend on whether the oil company is in a research and prospecting phase or in operation and production. Petroleum activities do not include the distribution of petroleum products.
Oil exploration companies
Oil companies which possess permits that are in the exploration phase may be exempted from the payment of VAT invoiced to them by their suppliers. This exemption is granted for the whole period of prospecting and remains valid until the oil company starts producing.
Therefore, each supplier has to mention the VAT on an invoice sent to an oil prospecting company which, being exempted, will not pay the invoiced VAT and submit a certificate of exemption, stating the following:
the date of the Ministerial authorisation;
identification of the oil company and the supplier;
date and number of invoice; and
price before VAT, price including taxes, VAT amount and total of the invoice.