Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) has started registering taxpayers at the district level as part of the arrangement to collect all revenues from the grassroots before remitting percentages back to local authorities.
Launching the registration in Kigali on Saturday, the Commissioner-General of RRA, Richard Tusabe, said many people have not been paying taxes on time and hoped their efforts would enhance revenue collection.
The tax collection task, started in March last year, is geared at enhancing efficiency in tax collections and reducing the cost of collecting revenue at district level, according to the Ministry of Finance.
“We took initiatives to work with local leaders to reach taxpayers door-to-door and assess if they fulfilled their tax obligations at least in the past three years. We have realised that some paid like for a year and we urged them to clear the outstanding balances before we take punitive measures,” Tusabe said.
Local governments were often hiring tax collectors to collect taxes on behalf of RRA due to capacity constraints.
Tusabe said RRA has built its capacity in terms of expertise, skills and knowledge to efficiently collect taxes from local government since it’s something their staffers understand.
“It will help districts become stronger with more revenue on their accounts,” he said.
The RRA chief added that the registration will be done along with assessment of taxpayers as well as tax awareness campaign to help people understand the types of taxes to be paid.
Trade licences, rental tax, Value Added Tax (VAT) and property tax are among those now being collected by RRA.
We are refining services from one step to another with ways of collection, assessment, enforcement where we will soon introduce mobile taxes collection system using phones, officials said.
The Mayor of the City of Kigali, Fidele Ndayisaba, said the City has many taxpayers whose compliance rate needed to be reviewed.
“There is need for vigilance in tax collection to avoid affecting implementation of development projects. We are first mobilising residents against tax evasion in order to make our country self-reliant,” he said.
Registration of taxpayers in Kigali will end on March 14.
RRA says it’s on course to collect Rwf986 billion needed to finance 56 per cent of current National Budget of Rwf1.75 trillion, despite some challenges that are undermining domestic taxes revenue.
The tax body said earlier this month that it had collected Rwf411.5 billion during the first semester (July-December 2014) of the current financial year, slightly lower than the Rwf432.7 billion target, indicating a 95.1 percent success rate.
Mary Mukarubega, an elderly woman from Gitega Sector in Nyarugenge District – and one of those who were registered during the launch – said she understands the role of taxes to the welfare of the people but sought more explanation on payment mode.
All taxpayers are urged to pay by March of every year.