Businesses urged to own country's devt agenda by paying taxes

The business community should own the country’s development agenda by paying taxes willingly and timely, as well as considering tax administrators as partners in development, Richard Tusabe, the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) Commissioner General, has said.
The tax body plans to roll out more e-billing machines to attract new tax-payers.
The tax body plans to roll out more e-billing machines to attract new tax-payers.

The business community should own the country’s development agenda by paying taxes willingly and timely, as well as considering tax administrators as partners in development, Richard Tusabe, the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) Commissioner General, has said.

Tusabe said taxes should not be seen as a burden, but a responsibility of every citizen and business person that serve the general good.

“Domestic revenues aren’t just about RRA collecting revenues, but for all the economic players doing their bit,” he said while speaking at a policy orientation breakfast meeting last week organised by PricewaterhouseCoopers Rwanda, a financial advisory and audit firm. He added that all Rwandans should be proud of their contribution in nation building through paying taxes.

However, representatives of some of the big businesses at the meeting said large tax-payers in the country bear the burden of those who do not pay taxes. They challenged the tax body to find ways of widening the tax base to ensure that everyone plays their part.

Tusabe said RRA is working on mechanisms, where they will expand the reach of Electronic Billing Machines (EBMs) to every registered business in the country so that the tax body can be able to track their economic activity.

This, he said, will bring in more smaller tax-payers into the tax net.

Bernice Kimacia, the PwC country senior partner, explained that RRA will not be taxing everyone, saying not all people may necessarily have taxable income. But the machines should help them understand their activity and help them design strategies that will bring them into the tax net without creating a burden to the businesses,” she said.

Kimacia called on the tax body to expand tax-payer education to help businesses understand how compliance leads to economic growth, which benefits entrepreneurs and other Rwandans. “Therefore, a responsible business cannot look at RRA as an ‘enemy’ only interested in taxes,” Kimacia said.

Rwanda expects to fund its current fiscal year budget mainly using domestically-generated revenues equivalent to 66 per cent of the Rwf1.77 trillion total budget. The other 34 per cent of the revenue will come from foreign sources.

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