RRA promises major reforms
In bid to facilitate trade and promote business growth in Rwanda, Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) and the Private Sector Federation have established a Tax Issues Forum (TIF).
The forum to discuss tax concerns comes after PSF raised concerns that RRA was partly to blame for the low tax compliance levels in the country.
PSF alleges that poor customer care among some RRA staff, harsh penalties, VAT on insurance premium force tax payers not be compliant.
The forum that will be convening on quarterly basis will enable the two parties to discus and find solutions to tax concerns.
In her opening remarks, during the dialogue, the Commissioner General of RRA, Mary Baine said forming the forum was in line with the government’s desire to have the private sector-led economy as reflected in the Vision 2020. She said RRA is one of the instrumental public institutions that are supporting private sector development in Rwanda.
“It is necessary to use dialogue as an effective tool for solving certain challenges,” she said.
Baine believes that when people meet and exchange ideas, problems are solved.
RRA management said, through customer care, trainings and retreats, the image of tax body is being improved.
During such sessions, staff are made to understand the impact of positive attitude towards quality service delivery.
The Commissioner for Domestic Taxes, Pierre Celestin Bumbakare said RRA has revised its code of conduct. He revealed that mishandling taxpayers is classified as gross misconduct where if proved guilty, the officer is dismissed.
The Commissioner General asked tax payers to be complaint to avoid penalties. She said ample time is provided to taxpayers to log in their tax declarations before the deadlines.
Adding that RRA tries as much as possible to communicate to taxpayers using different media channels reminding them of payment deadlines.
She also asked tax payers to exploit the voluntary disclosure system—where a taxpayer is granted a chance to rectify his/her declaration before RRA carries out audit.
On VAT insurance premiums, the Commissioner in Charge of Large Taxpayers’ Officer, Ben Kagarama said that currently RRA is holding discussions with other East African Community (EAC) member countries to ensure the issue is harmonised.
RRA promised to establish several collection centres and branches within Kigali City to address long queues at its revenue collection centres. When implemented, RRA management says taxpayers will be filing tax returns in their respective zones.
RRA however asked the PSF to sensitise and encourage taxpayers to always declare and pay tax dues in time other than waiting till the last day to avoid long queues.
RRA management also announced that it is preparing a document proposing to the government, to remove, the surcharge on sugar probably by next 2009.
The PSF was urged to sensitise business owners to be cooperative during tax audits by availing all the required accurate records of accounts and any other relevant information.
In his speech the Secretary General of PSF Emmanuel Hategeka expressed gratitude about the dialogue saying that private sector appreciates RRA openness to over come tax challenges facing the business community.
“With appreciation, I take this opportunity to once again express my optimism on the important role this forum will play towards the enhancing the development of the private sector,” noted Hategeka.
Secretary General of PSF, Emmanuel Hategeka led a 20-man team. Others were the PSF Vice Chairman, Faustin Mbundu, PSF Advocacy Committee chairman, Gerard Zirimwabagabo and Director General of SORAS, Marc Rugenera.