Premier calls for more tax compliance for self-reliance

Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente has urged all citizens and residents of Rwanda to faithfully pay their taxes to help the country achieve its goal of being self-reliant.

He made the call yesterday in Kigali during a national event to mark the 20th anniversary of the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) and the ‘2018 Taxpayers’ Appreciation Day’.

The premier urged RRA to continue reaching out to taxpayers to ensure more compliance, explaining that the latter also have to produce more in line with Rwanda’s vision to be self-reliant.

“Even if we are happy that taxes collected have increased over the years, our revenues are not yet enough to fund all of our development programmes,” he said.  

He urged members of the public to always ask for their EBM receipts after buying goods and services to help ensure that taxes are paid.

He pledged government’s continued support to the country’s tax collection body to ensure that it continues to fulfil its mandate.

“The Government will continue to be closer to you and support you in any way it can so you can fulfil your responsibilities,” he told the employees of the Rwanda Revenue Authority at the event.

The body collected Rwf1,252.6 billion in tax revenue during the last fiscal year 2017/2018, surpassing its Rwf1,215.2-billion target by Rwf37.4 billion, the tax collection body said yesterday.

RRA Commissioner General Richard Tusabe commended taxpayers for improved compliance and said that exceeding tax collection targets can continue to happen in the future with their continued cooperation from taxpayers.  

“It’s the first time we are exceeding our target up to this level and we hope that we will continue to do it by working together with all of you,” he told taxpayers.

Taxes collected in the last fiscal year represent a 13.6 per cent increase compared to those collected in the previous fiscal year 2016/2017.

The money collected in taxes for the fiscal year 2017/2018 funded nearly 60 per cent of the country’s budget which was slightly over Rwf2.1 trillion.

Taxes collected from local governments also increased, as RRA collected Rwf53.9 billion out of Rwf51.7 billion that the body had targeted to collect from local governments in the completed financial year.

Tusabe said that improved efficiency in tax collection helped bring in more taxes to the Government coffers, adding that this is a result of better cooperation with taxpayers as well as the use of technology in tax collection.

RRA uses latest technologies to facilitate tax collection through platforms such as electronic filing (e-Filing), mobile declaration (m-Declaration), m-Payment, EBMs, and MobiCash, among other means, to improve efficiency in tax collection.  

The Chairperson of the Private Sector Federation (PSF), Robert Bafakulera, commended the tax collection body for using technology in tax collection.

“Technology helped us to reduce difficulties we used to encounter in determining our taxes,” he said.

He commended the Government for being closer to taxpayers while designing tax laws and the tax collection body for doing more to help taxpayers get their tax refunds in time.

“We are happy that through discussions about tax laws we have reached solutions in terms of good tax legislation. We are also happy that the process to pay VAT refunds has been eased and hope that any arrears of VAT refunds from previous years will also be cleared,” he said.

But Bafakulera urged the Government to step up consultations while enacting new tax laws and always ensure that taxpayers are informed about changes in tax laws in advance before they are executed.   

“The business community wish that those who formulate laws about trade should publicise them before the start of the year in order to help us better plan our activities throughout the year. Informing us beforehand about changes in tax laws can help us avoid certain expenditures made as a result of new laws,” he said.

For the current fiscal year 2018/19, the Government expects collections from domestic taxes to account for over13 per cent in comparison with the previous fiscal year as it is expected to be Rwf1,369.4 billion and will go towards funding a Rwf2.4-trillion national budget.

RRA seeks to collect Rwf60.2 billion from local governments during the current fiscal year.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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