Gaming operators will be required to pay a tax rate of 13 per cent on all gaming activities, including betting and casino activities, as government seeks to cash in on the lucrative budding industry.
Also, winnings at any gaming centre will be subscribed to a withholding tax of 15 per cent, which will be deducted before a lucky individual is given his or her jackpot.
Before this, gaming activities were not taxed directly by the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) since their introduction in 2008, but were required to pay value added tax, which according to both RRA officials and gaming operators, was a cumbersome activity.
"This is the only sector that was not taxed directly and as a result, surmountable revenue was being lost and yet gaming activities are becoming very popular in the country"
"The tax will help streamline activities and investors will also know what to expect in the economy," Celestin Bumbakare, the Commissioner for Domestic Taxes at RRA said in an interview last week.
"The tax is in effect and it has been appreciated by gaming operators; it will surely bring some desirable revenue to the government coffers, which will be used to foster the development of Rwanda."
The Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Gaming Corporation (RGC), Philip Brazoua, welcomed the initiative saying that lack of it had derailed further gaming investments in the country.
"Gaming is a sure way of making government money and is also a rich investment venture for the private sector. Over US$9 worth of investment was withheld pending the introduction of the tax; now investors have a green light because the industry is clearer," he said.
"All stakeholders in the business are optimistic because all aspects, starting with the tax regime had to be streamlined and governed in the best way possible. Now we can carry out activities on a large scale, advertise them more than we did before and make the industry as prosperous as possible."
Since the introduction of gaming activities in November 2008, they have generated a turnover of Rwf32.7 bn.
According to the RRA, a gaming taxpayer shall have to submit declaration of the tax on gaming activities according to the form and procedure specified by the Commissioner General and pay the tax due in a period not exceeding fifteen days following the end of each month.