This guide provides an overview of the application of VAT in Africa and does not contain a comprehensive summary of all VAT principles applying in each country.
The interpretation of Value-Added Tax (VAT) legislation in Africa often creates uncertainty for businesses trading in and across Africa. African countries understand the importance of having a tax base, VAT making up a large portion of revenues collected. Not being VAT compliant may lead to penalties and additional tax.
Although it may take time to fully understand the VAT environment across Africa, consider that VAT legislation is seldom if ever tested in tax courts across Africa. VAT legislation would have been effective since date of the implementation of the VAT legislation.
Just because provisions in the VAT legislation or regulations are not enforced by the tax authority, do not suppose that the legislation is therefore not applicable. It may only mean that the tax authority have not had the manpower to enforce the legislation and may be getting on track to do so.
The purpose of the VAT Guide is to provide an overview of the VAT legislation across Africa and to assist the reader in identifying areas where further advice should be obtained.
Africa continues to be a promising place to invest for many international business owners and investors. However, not understanding the tax environment could result in a large tax liability for the foreign investor. Managing compliance and ‘getting it right’ across Africa therefore remains one of the priorities for tax managers.
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