KIGALI - The head of the United Kingdom’s tax body, Dave Hartnett, yesterday, visited the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) headquarters and shared best practices on the taxation of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
The Commissioner for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, held a public lecture attended by members of the private sector.
Hartnett, who is also the UK Permanent Secretary for tax, noted best practices like routine seminars to encourage taxpayer compliance and building trust between taxpayers and the government, should be encouraged.
He added that just like Rwanda, the UK also wants to make it as easy as possible for taxpayers to comply, but there is a big challenge since it is difficult to engage all SMEs on a one-on-one basis.
Building trust is important, he noted.
“By and large, we want to have a continuing dialogue with businesses,” he said.
He highlighted the importance of routine checking of customers’ books of account–not necessarily for tax compliance, but to help them improve.
Hartnett said that in the UK, the tax gap is enormous. He said nearly five million SMEs in the UK account for 40 percent of all taxes collected. And, there are nearly 700,000 new SMEs every year.
“The quality of audit here is excellent but I think there is an interesting issue about the depth and breadth of audit,” Hartnett told reporters after the meeting.
“I was impressed with the engagement with customers, this morning, it is something my country believes in and I was very interested in how customer segmentation captured the imagination of a group of people.”