Tax body unearths evasion scam

Tax collectors are being urged to be more vigilant as new reports indicate that some taxpayers are falsifying tax invoices while others switch Tax Identification Number (TIN) to evade taxes. The Commissioner General of Rwanda Revenue Authority, Ben Kagarama, disclosed this while attending a Tax Advisory Council meeting Wednesday at Kirehe District headquarters.
RRA Commissioner General Ben Kagarama. The New Times / File.
RRA Commissioner General Ben Kagarama. The New Times / File.

Tax collectors are being urged to be more vigilant as new reports indicate that some taxpayers are falsifying tax invoices while others switch Tax Identification Number (TIN) to evade taxes.

The Commissioner General of Rwanda Revenue Authority, Ben Kagarama, disclosed this while attending a Tax Advisory Council meeting Wednesday at Kirehe District headquarters.

TIN is offered free of charge and every taxpayers is obliged to have his/her own in accordance with the taxation laws.

Kagarama cautioned the business community in Kirehe District against tax evasion that deprives the country of its revenues. 

He cited falsification of tax invoices, use of multiple TINs, smuggling and having two receipt books, among the various tricks most taxpayers employ in an attempt to evade taxes.

“We identified shocking information in Kirehe District, where unscrupulous taxpayers trade TINs to their counterparts aimed at evading Value Added Tax and profit tax,” Kagarama revealed.

He added that some people had TINs with a turnover of hundreds of millions, but when RRA investigated, it found out that they did not own any business.

The Commissioner General noted that a list of such traders trading in TINs and their counterparts was available and warned that the tax body would take stringent measures to curb the vice.

“RRA is ready to engage taxpayers in tax seminars, tax clinics and workshops aimed at creating awareness in order to avoid such malpractices,” Kagarama stressed.

He added that the tax body was considering a waiver or reduction of penalties to identified cases, but hastened to add that for those who used other peoples’ TINs to clear their own goods, the case would be handled as a criminal offence.

Jean de Dieu Hakizimana, one of the traders suspected of trading in TINs, was found to have an annual turnover of over Rwf 252 million in the year 2010.

Hakizimana admitted that he at one time allowed other traders to use his TIN to clear their consignments at the Rusumo border post.

On his part, the Mayor of Kirehe District, Protais Murayire, said taxpayers have a collective responsibility to build their country through paying taxes and should desist from smuggling activities.

He stressed that those found to trade their TINs do not even appear on the taxpayer register of the district and the Private Sector, something that is totally unacceptable.

stephen.rwembeho@newtimes.co.rw

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