26 February 2013

Rwanda: Revenue Body Rolls Out Electronic Tax Billing

Taxpayers registered for Value Added Tax (VAT) are now obliged by law to issue tax receipts using electronic billing machines certified by Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA).

The electronic billing machines, which were launched yesterday in Kigali, will be mandatory to use effective March.

The initiative is one of the new measures to assist taxpayers in proper bookkeeping and sales management.

Pierre Celestin Bumbakare, the commissioner for Domestic Taxes at RRA, said electronic billing machines will modernise sale outlets with new management tools, adding that the system would combat unfair competition among taxpayers.

"The system comes with many advantages; it is intended to assist taxpayers in managing their stock as well as reducing time spent doing business," he said.

"These machines are designed in the way that data from the taxpayer will be exactly the same to our database and it will be monitored buy our agent. So, there will no longer be conflicts in figures with taxpayers," Bumbakare added.

The $500,000 (Rwf316m) project uses a SIM card-like mobile phones and RRA negotiated a reduced rate of monthly airtime subscription for every machine at Rwf1,000 to be paid by taxpayers.

At the beginning, 500 business people will get the machines installed and trained free of charge, but for the next phases, taxpayers will buy them.

Theodore Nzaramba of Champions Technologies Ltd, a taxpayer selected in the first phase of implementation, said the machines are useful since they reduce paper work in business environment.

Taxpayers and the public were urged to support the initiative by issuing and requesting for receipts whenever buying goods or services.

Seleman Abdallah, a shopkeeper in Quartier Commerciale in Kigali City, and who is among the 500 businessmen selected to get the machines for free, argues that though it will require time to familiarise with the machines, it is a good opportunity to benefit from.

"Issuing manual bills normally takes a long time. I think both the customer and businesspersons will benefit from this project," he said.

Once the billing machine is installed, any businessperson who will still use manual bill issuance will be punished.

The machine costs between $300 (Rwf190,000) to $400 (Rwf250,000) and it uses a SIM card from a recognised telecommunication network.

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