Understanding taxation in procurement

Handling tax issues has always been tricky when it comes to procurement, especially for those who never want to give Caesar his due, and try to dodge the tax man or under declare their tax returns.
Contractors and project owners need to be careful when handling tax matters. The New Times / File.
Contractors and project owners need to be careful when handling tax matters. The New Times / File.

Handling tax issues has always been tricky when it comes to procurement, especially for those who never want to give Caesar his due, and try to dodge the tax man or under declare their tax returns.

However, experts advise that it is healthy for contractors to file tax returns as and when they are due to ensure smooth-running of their enterprises, among other benefits.   

Theogen Rukundo, a procurement officer at New Artel, an Internet services provider, notes that the implications of not following procurement guidelines as far as taxation is concerned can overwhelm your firm, leading to its collapse.

He advises procurement officers to always first make sure a supplier is registered with the Rwanda Revenue Authority before accepting any purchase order or invoice from them, as well as do background check of their track record on tax matters.

“As long as a supplier has indicated the tax identification number (TIN) and assures you that they will adhere to guidelines, accept the document and process payment,” he explains.

Rukundo notes that companies should always beware when dealing with international companies that have not been registered with the tax body.

“When an international firm is registered with a tax body of another country and not the Rwanda Revenue Authority, one then retains 5 per cent of the total amount on the invoice as the withholding tax to be paid to RRA,” he explains.

This is in line with the amended value added tax law that came into force in March last year.

Rukundo adds that the use of electronic billing machines has made it easy for many businesses as it gives assurance that a supplier is value added tax registered.

Bernice Kimacia, the PricewaterhouseCoopers country managing partner, a professional advisory services firm urges businesses to try and learn the ‘sometimes complex’ tax implications of any procurement decision. She advises firms to always entrust taxation issues to professionals to avoid problems.

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