The Rwanda Revenue Authority has urged the business community to always issue tax invoices for every purchase to ease accountability in relation to taxes. This was emphasized by the Commissioner for Domestic taxes Mr. Bumbakare P. Célestin in an exclusive Interview.
“It has been noticed on several occasions that most traders do not either issue or request for tax invoices which is against taxation laws,” expressed Bumbakare, adding that such traders benefit from trade facilitation initiatives put in place by the tax administration to ease their businesses but unfortunately do contrary to what is expected of them.
“RRA has planned surprise visits to all business premises in order to capture traders without tax invoices. Traders doing their business in Rwanda should be keen on this issue since it is punishable by law. Merchandise seized in such a manner are considered to be smuggled,” said Bumbakare.
Mukama Andrew, a retail trader in Kigali, said that “when you buy goods from whole salers, they refuse to give us invoices claiming to increase the price of goods bought. If that happens we also go by their wish and go away without the invoices. This is because no one would want to increase the price of an item already purchased.”
Another retail trader by the names of Kabagambe a resident of Byumba said that, goods bought inclusive of taxes tend to be expensive which makes it hard for the retail traders to buy and sell, therefore, they opt for the removal of taxes from the price of the merchandises.
“When I sell my goods exclusive of taxes, I sell them at a reduced cost which makes them get bought quickly, and so allows me to go shopping many times, hence making good profits, however, I have to be careful while selling tax exclusive merchandises because I know it’s against the tax laws”, he revealed.
Traders interviewed were asked why and how they dodge taxes yet taxes charged are paid by the final consumer, and most of them responded that taxes tend to increase the price of a good which retards sales.
“The reason to why we don’t issue invoices is because we want to reduce on the cost of our commodities and avoid paying much tax. We usually have two receipt books one with VAT inclusive and another without. So when Rwanda Revenue Authority comes we show them the receipt book with VAT and hence pay less tax,” revealed one whole seller identified as Ali.
Another whole saler in the city centre said that, some retailers prefer to have an invoice without VAT yet others prefer not to have an invoice at all.
The Rwanda Revenue Authority cautioned all traders to abide by the tax laws and regulations to avoid being victims, and warned that any trader caught in the surprise visits short of the requirements, will be dealt with as the law stipulates.
Those buying goods from Kigali and transporting them to other provinces are required to always carry those invoices to avoid confiscation by RRA officers in charge of fighting smuggling.