car owners have until January 31 to have finalise all pending vehicle ownership transfers, Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) has said.
Initially, the deadline had been set for January 16.
The operation was initiated to give a chance people who have not yet the transfer of ownership between them and previous owners.
The vehicle risks being impounded if the previous owner owes taxes.
“The operation is not only raising awareness to let people be sure the properties they bought are officially registered under their names, but also help us update data from our tax registry book so we can provide credible statistics whenever needed,” said Patrick Gayawira, the RRA acting Deputy Commissioner for Small and Medium Taxes.
During the operations, Gayawira said they realised that many people don’t bother about transfer of ownership.
When The New Times visited RRA premises during the operation, a lot of complaints from people reached the paper. Some were saying that the cars they bought had tax arrears recorded before they bought them yet they were sure they paid all due taxes and on time.
“I have been here (at RRA HQs) since morning looking to seal the transfer together with the person I sold my car to but there is no hope whether we will have it done today. I may skip my business and come with him tomorrow but I am not sure I can keep coming here for another three days. I’ve learned that the activity is very important but the service should be done fast,” said Evariste Ndayisaba, a vehicle seller from Rwamagana.
Gayawira said such issues were the consequences of not carrying out the transfers on time.
“Some did not know their cars had tax issues at the time they bought them. And, in that case, although they may not be responsible for the taxes that the vehicle carries, they cannot register it under their names until the seller is found,” he said.
He advised members of the public to consult RRA on the tax history of the vehicles they buy and see if they do not have tax arrears.
“It is the buyer’s responsibility to first come to us and ask for information about the vehicle before buying it because transfer can’t be effected if the seller has tax arrears. The car may be among the assets the Government can consider attaching to recover its taxes,” he said.
The law stipulates that transfer of ownership is supposed to be sealed within eight days.
Gayawira warned that measures will be taken against those who will not comply with the vehicle transfer deadline in the future.
Since the operation kicked off on December 16, the number of people seeking to change ownership has increased from 80 to 300 a day.
As such, over 3,000 vehicle transfers have been completed in the last month.