In such a system, even if the oil companies do not pay any VAT, the suppliers (oil subcontractors) have to charge VAT on the oil companies’ invoices and may obtain a VAT credit, which must appear in the CA3 monthly return.
Economically speaking, this mechanism generates a tax credit for suppliers working exclusively with oil prospecting companies, which cannot be reimbursed.
Oil production companies
Oil production companies do not have to pay VAT on operations performed by some of their subcontractors. This exemption only concerns subcontractors who are authorised by the Tax Administration and who appear on the UPEGA (representative union for the oil sector) list. Such subcontractors benefit from a reimbursement right of the VAT paid upstream of an exempt operation.
This application for VAT refunds will only concern deductible VAT under common law. For instance, VAT paid on lodging expenses is not deductible (and therefore, should not be mentioned on the VAT refund application form). Otherwise, the application for the aforesaid VAT reimbursement may be rejected.
On the other hand, non-authorised subcontractors must charge VAT when invoicing production oil companies and consequently receive a payment including VAT. They therefore have to pay the VAT to the Treasury. As for oil companies, they may claim the reimbursement of the VAT paid.
In order to recover output VAT for the unpaid transactions where the amount is irrecoverable, a correction of the invoice is necessary. A duplicate of
the initial invoice should be issued, containing the following statement:
‘Invoices remained unpaid for the sum of X price excluding VAT and for the sum of corresponding VAT which cannot be the subject of a deduction.’
Land and buildings
The operations relating to the renting of undeveloped land and unfurnished premises are exempt from VAT. The transmission of real goods and the intangible movable property subject to registration rights are not subject to VAT.
Imports of new materials and tools for the construction of social residences performed by authorised property developers are VAT exempt.
Leasing is subject to VAT at the standard rate.
As there are no specific provisions, the deduction of input VAT should therefore be possible as far as promotional gifts are concerned.
VAT does not apply to secondhand goods. Therefore, these sales are exempt from the payment of VAT. However, this exemption does not apply to traders of secondhand goods.
There is a VAT exemption for equipment, goods and personalised furniture specifically for the tourism industry.
Transfer of a business
As far as an element of the fixed assets is concerned, the input VAT deducted has to be regularised when this element is no longer part of the fixed asset before the third year following the year when this element was purchased.
Other indirect taxes
Gabon is a member of the UDEAC (CEMAC) region, which means that consideration must be given to the UDEAC (CEMAC) regulations. There is a common customs regime, as well as specific customs regimes.
UDEAC (CEMAC) common customs regulations: The New Custom Code provides that the customs value of imported merchandise is their transactional value, i.e. the price actually paid or to be paid for this merchandise, subject to some adjustment and/or reintegration.
Specific customs regimes:
the temporary admission regime (normal or special) may be granted for specific equipment materials, products, machines and tools required for the performance of some operations;
the specific regime is granted for imports by the contractor, third parties on its behalf or subcontractors, provided that the goods are re-exported after they are used;
the exemption regime may be granted for all materials, products, equipment, machines and tools exclusively intended and actually used up for certain operations, such as drilling equipment, submarines and oxygen;