EDITORIAL: RRA should also pay what it owes

The tax collection body, Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA), has over the years built itself into one of the most efficient government entities. For the last few years it has been superseding its tax collection targets, and this year it was no different.

According to results released by RRA this week, they managed to collect Rwf666 Billion between July and December 2018, overshooting their Rwf660.4 billion target.

Perhaps the reason behind the high compliance rate among taxpayers is the no-holds-barred attitude by RRA when it comes calling; it has no room for pity. Its extreme penalties are enough to shake one up, extremely when the deadline to pay the various taxes looms. As usual, Rwandans will not disappoint, they will come at the last minute causing huge jams in banks.

At the end of the day, RRA gets what it wants and the government is happy. But outside the tax halls, many taxpayers are not. RRA owes Value Added Taxpayers over Rwf30 Billion that it has failed to refund. This is very unfair to business people, especially those who want to grow their businesses.

The money lying dormant in RRA’s accounts could be generating more taxes, and definitely, the taxman has no valid argument of not paying up what it owes.

The efficiency with which RRA kicks into motion its tax collection operations should be the same used when refunding money it owes taxpayers. Just as the body charges penalties for late-payment, it should also suffer the same consequences for holding on to business people’s money.