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12.1. GAAR and General Anti-Avoidance Measures

The Finance Law 2017 introduced a number of anti-avoidance regimes. Under the new rules, payments to related or unrelated individuals or entities resident in low-tax or uncooperative jurisdictions are deductible only up to specified limits and subject to conditions (See Sec. 6.5.). Moreover, payments to such recipients are subject to higher withholding taxes (See Sec. 8.2.3.). For these purposes, a low-tax or uncooperative jurisdiction is defined as one listed in the OECD’s or EU’s black list of uncooperative jurisdictions and having no agreement for the exchange of tax information with the Ivory Coast. Effective 2 January 2019, the definition of uncooperative jurisdictions has been expanded to include in addition any jurisdictions not having a tax exchange agreement with the Ivory Coast and so designated by the Ivory Coast authorities. Also, effective from the same date, the definition of low-tax jurisdictions was modified and now includes jurisdictions where income sourced from the Ivory Coast may be subject to tax for an amount lower than 50% of the tax liability that would be incurred in the Ivory Coast for the same income.

The Finance Law 2017 also introduced the possibility for (a) joint tax audits, whereby foreign tax officials may take part in tax audits carried out in Ivory Coast, as well as (b) for the tax administration to involve experts from outside the tax administration in the conduct of tax audits.  

Domestic laws do not override tax treaties.

Beneficial Ownership Register

Effective 2 January 2019, taxpayers are required to maintain a beneficial ownership register identifying their ultimate beneficial owners. For these purposes, the ultimate beneficial owner is defined as the person covered by Art. 1(11) of Law 216-992 of 16 November 2016 on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing. The register must be prepared contemporaneously and made available to the tax authorities at their request. This obligation applies to all commercial and civil companies regardless of legal form or tax status.

Moreover, corporations (SAs) and simplified stock companies must maintain a register of the holders of their (a) registered stock, and (b) bearer shares. In contrast, commercial and civil companies other than corporations and simplified stock companies are only required to maintain a shareholder’s register.