Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) has launched a campaign that aims at encouraging taxpayers to voluntarily pay land lease fees before the December 31 deadline to avoid paying fines.
The campaign, dubbed “RRA Iwacu”, was launched on Wednesday in Kagugu cell, Kinyinya sector in Gasabo District where hundreds of people were encouraged to pay tax and others were helped to pay immediately at the launch.
Ernest Karasira, RRA deputy Commissioner for regional and decentralised taxes, said the campaign aims at taking services closer to the people and reminded them not to perceive paying taxes as a burden but an obligation to contribute to national economic development.
As part of the campaign, RRA has opened temporally tax collection centres in different parts of the country especially in Kigali, where six more tax collection centres were opened.
“As you are aware land lease tax fees is paid annually before December 31, that is why we wished to launch RRA Iwacu as an initiative to come closer to the citizens, we wish this campaign to reach many Rwandans to ensure compliance without delays and incurring fines,” he said.
He said that payment of land lease fees is still low as less than 50 per cent have paid, which is why the campaign was launched.
Over Rwf10 billion is targeted to be collected in land lease fees by the end of the year, and in only the three remaining weeks, the revenue body needs to collect Rwf7.7 billion, according to Karasira
“The experience we have is that taxpayers often declare and pay taxes at the end of the year and we are hopeful that, with this campaign, many people will have paid this by the end of the year though it is not easy,” Karasira explained.
Land lease fees apply on inhabitable land, commercial and industrial land and cultivable land which is above two hectares.
As of Tuesday this week, Gasabo District had collected only 598 million compared to Rwf3bn that should be generated from land lease taxes.
In Nyarugenge District, Rwf700 million that is to be paid, only Rwf97 million has been paid, while in Kicukiro District only Rwf361 million was paid, less than 15 per cent, according to RRA officials.
“We have established easy ways to pay taxes, there are various ways, visiting RRA at our various offices or using our website. But since not everyone can have access to the internet, there are ways to use your mobile phone by pressing *800# and follow instructions, while people can also pay through banks.”
Calixte Ndahimana, a taxpayer, said he was ready to pay taxes for national development but raised reservations with paying taxes with mobile phone.
“I paid land transfer fees using my phone, in the same period my phone was stolen. When I sought services I was asked for proof which I did not have, I had to pay again, there is need to provide proof when someone pays fees electronically,” he said.
Otherwise, we are aware of the importance of paying taxes and we all need to comply as it is a way of contributing to national development, he added.
However, officials from RRA said they were encouraging paperless system and whoever pays electronically, are registered electronically.
The Mayor of Gasabo District, Stephen Rwamurangwa, said that paying taxes is both responsibility and right of citizens.
“It is good to pay taxes on time to avoid fines that come with delays, it is better to pay now before issues of school fees and festive seasons come in, we need to understand that it is not a burden to pay taxes,” he said.
“We will work together to reach targets and taxpayers should hold us accountable to ensure they get returns from their taxes such as new schools, roads and hospitals,” said the mayor.