Tax audit in morocco : what you should know
Tax audit in morocco is a procedure by which the tax authorities verify the accounting of a company under local GAAP. Indeed, a tax audit aims at verifying the accuracy of a company’s tax returns. It also aims at verifying the sincerity of the accounting that supports these tax returns.
The tax authorities have, under the provisions of the general tax code, the ability to control the declarations made by taxpayers. This control can take several forms:
- Firstly, on-site tax inspection ;
- Secondly, control on documents ;
- Finally, the particular procedures which are mainly :
- Firstly, the control of the consistency of the harvest in terms of agricultural income;
- Secondly, the examination of the whole tax situation of the taxpayers;
- Thirdly, the control of the prices on acts and estimated declarations;
- Finally, the right of ascertainment.
In this article, we deal specifically with the case of the audit of accounting. The other types of control are treated in other articles of the blog of Upsilon Consulting.
In addition, Upsilon Consulting offers tax consulting services and support in tax audits. For more information, please visit our page: Upsilon Consulting – Tax assistance
Tax audit : Legal aspects
According to the provisions of article 210 of the Moroccan CGI, the tax administration taxpayers’ returns. These include, declarations and acts used for the establishment of taxes, duties and fees.
This same article requires taxpayers to:
- Firstly, to provide all necessary justifications;
- Secondly, to present all accounting documents to the administration’s sworn agents.
This right is exercised through agents who have at least the rank of assistant inspector. They have a mandate (called “commission”) to carry out the tax audit.
The company must provide the tax inspector with all information on computer support to facilitate their treatment.
If documents and supporting evidence are missing, Administration can use its discretionary power. In this cas, Administration agents can establish new taxation based on the element they are in possession of.
How does a tax audit take place?
As mentioned above, the administration can proceed to verification of :
- tax bases resulting from a declaration made by the taxpayer
- accounting records
- physical existence of the assets.
For this purpose, it must respect a precise formalism which is fixed by the legal provisions in force.
Tax audit – Notice of audit
Administration must notify the taxpayer (15) fifteen days before the date set for the audit.
Audit shall start within a period not exceeding five (5) working days from the noticed date.
This document must include :
- First, the name and rank of the auditing officer;
- Secondly, the period concerned by the audit;
- Thirdly, the nature of the taxes to be audited;
- Finally, the date of commencement of the audit operation.
Audit cannot start before expiration of the (15) days’ notice period. Otherwise, results of this verification may be cancelled by a court.
Tax audit – Place of audit
According to the provisions of article 212 (I- 2 e paragraph) of the C.G.I., the place of verification is:
- for legal entities, the registered office or the main establishment;
- for individuals, the tax domicile or the main establishment and for taxpayers not resident in Morocco, the elected tax domicile.
In this respect, the auditor:
- is not entitled to require the taxpayer to send him accounting documents or extracts from his accounts ;
- does not have to take away the original books and accounting documents, except with the express authorization of the taxpayer
In accordance with the provisions of article 212 (I- 4th paragraph) of the C.G.I., a tax audit cannot last :
- Firstly, more than six (6) months for companies whose turnover, excluding VAT< (50) million dirhams;
- Secondly, more than twelve (12) months for companies whose turnover, excluding VAT > fifty (50) million dirhams.
The period of six (6) or twelve (12) months shall run from the 16th day following the date of notification.
The turnover declared in the income and expense account is understood to be the turnover (excluding VAT).
It is in fact the turnover as defined by the General Accounting Standards Code (C.G.N.C.)
Suspension of the verification period
The periods of six (6) and twelve (12) months do not take into account the suspensions of the audit.
Administration may, in fact, suspend the audit for :
- failure to present the mandatory accounting documents
- refusal to submit to the audit.
Starting point of each period of suspension begins on the date of notification of the letter of formal notice.
The period of suspension of the verification stops on the date of the communication to the agent :
- Firstly, the documents and accounting records requested;
- Secondly, a letter confirming the absence of the documents and records.
Assistance by a tax consultant in the event of a tax audit
In order to reinforce the guarantees to taxpayers, article 212- I of the C.G.I. allows the taxpayer to call upon a tax consultant. The consultant assists the company during the audit operations and to prepare answers after notification.
In this respect, the taxpayer is guaranteed to freely choose the title, the qualification and the number of people who can provide this assistance.
The taxpayer is also free to be assisted by this counsel during the audit work or to be replaced directly by the consultant. A legalized writing mandate should be signed by the taxpayer identifying the consultant.
Do auditors have the right to take away accounting documents during an audit?
No. Under no circumstances may the agent of the administration take away an original document or accounting voucher without the taxpayer’s consent.
The inspector must sign a receipt. This receipt lists the original documents in question.
The duplicate of the receipt, countersigned by the taxpayer or his legal representative, is placed in the tax file of the person concerned.
When the documents are returned, the auditor must obtain a discharge from the taxpayer or his legal representative.
Refusal to hand over accounting documents
If the taxpayer refuses to provide the inspector with the accounting documents necessary for the verification of his declarations, the inspector initiates the formal notice procedure provided for in article 229 of the C.G.I., which may lead to an automatic taxation.
End of the tax audit
Pursuant to the provisions of article 212 (I- 6 e paragraph) of the C.G.I., the administration must inform the taxpayer of the date of the end of the verification work.
In this respect, article 212 (II- 1st paragraph) provides that at the end of the on-site tax audit, the administration must:
- Firstly, in case of rectification of the tax bases, engage, according to the case, the procedure provided for in article 220 or 221 of the C.G.I.;
- Secondly, if the verification does not lead to any adjustment, notify the taxpayer in the manner provided for in article 219 of the code.
If the Administration wishes to verify again the entries of a fiscal year, it has the right to do so. However, a second audit cannot result in a new modification of the taxable bases.
Read in French : Contrôle fiscal au Maroc : Ce qu’il faut savoir