Christmas holiday is not a tax holiday

Ho!Ho! Ho! It’s that time of the year again. It’s the month of December, the last month of the year and a month of good cheer. To most of us, it means going on vacation, doing some final decors, sharing fond memories with our loved ones and a line-up of many other activities.

But before we come to all that, there is a factor that more often goes amiss and needs to be put into consideration. The end of year tax payments. What are your plans when it comes to paying your end of the year taxes? While a few tax payers have no problem in answering this with conviction, to others it’s an activity that has been slotted way at the bottom (or it probably doesn’t appear at all) on their to-do list.

Besides the exciting sensation that’s associated with the month of December, from a different perspective, December also means that we have 31 days to take care of a number of tax issues that could save us a couple of Rwandan Francs when we resume business in the subsequent financial year.

A meaningful holiday would combine two things. One, having the records right with the tax man and secondly, a stress free holiday without worrying about the penalties that you may pay in 2019 because of noncompliance with the December tax filings.  With that in mind, there are a number of taxes that ought to be filed and paid before the year comes to a close.

Among them include the challenging consumption tax return which is due on 5, 15 and 25 of December, the VAT Quarterly return for those allowed to file and pay quarterly, Payroll taxes and the land lease taxes. Of course, if your company happens to have a special calendar year for paying taxes, you might as well need to confirm when your taxes are due. Accordingly, tax payers are not only advised to meet their tax obligations on time but to have their tax computations done in accordance with the tax laws.

Remember that during the concerned period, if it happens that you do not have taxable activities, there is still the need to file a nil return. Penalties will be the ultimate consequence if the mentioned returns are not filed and paid on time. The highest penalty for not filing a tax return is 60 per cent of the principal tax. As we make the New Year resolutions, we always anticipate for a better year, for vital changes and for a fresh start but when penalties come in, the year takes a different turn.

A successful transformation begins with several fundamental elements including filing and paying taxes on time and avoiding penalties. That as a way, is an indication that the company has a clear vision to succeed in the New Year because it’s a starting point to where the journey will lead and how the company will get there in terms of its compliance obligations.

So before taking that vacation, ensure that your taxes are in check. You could probably create a tax to-do list just to make sure you don’t miss some things that could save you from paying the penalties. Better yet, take a few minutes to schedule some tax moves that could help you file and pay on time what you owe the tax man.

Santa is watching you and all the tax moves you make in December and he’ll certainly know if you’re bad or nice, so you’d rather be nice, especially when it comes to taxes. Paying your dues before the year end will keep you on the good list kept by both Santa and the tax man. May 2019 be a penalty free year for all of us. Happy holidays

The writer is  a Tax Advisor with KPMG Rwanda.

The views expressed here in are personal and do not necessarily represent the views and opinion of KPMG.