Withholding trust: Business taxpayers and the value-added tax in Cameroon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


For more than two decades now, Cameroon’s most prominent private sector representatives have singled out the processing of value-added tax refunds as a serious hindrance to economic activity in the country. The dimensions of this problem and its intractability derive to a large extent from a feature of the tax system known as value-added tax (VAT) withholding. The consensus is that VAT withholding allows the State to attain certain revenue levels by modifying the normal operation of VAT and entrusting tax collection tasks to public agencies and a select group of large companies. Withholding is thus seen as a device that, while not technically optimal, enables the tax authorities to cope with VAT-related administrative challenges that they are judged not to be ready to meet fully. This chapter supplements such an expert story by focusing on how withholding is premised on sorting businesses into taxpaying categories. In the process, commercial might and managerial standards are conflated and couched in terms of civic morality. The result is a deeply discriminatory tax system that treats all but a small minority of businesses as untrustworthy
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of the Economy of Cameroon
EditorsCélestin Monga
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9780192848529
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 24 Mar 2022

Publication series

NameOxford Handbooks
PublisherOxford University Press


  • taxation
  • value-added tax
  • Cameroon
  • economic governance
  • state-business relations


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