Rwanda Inaugurates Office of Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes
Rwanda has taken a significant step forward in enhancing its tax information exchange capabilities with the inauguration of the Office of Exchange of Information (EOI) on Thursday, September 31, 2023.
The ceremony was graced by the presence of key dignitaries including Andrew Mitchell, the UK's Minister of State for Development and Africa, Richard Tusabe, Rwandan Minister of State in charge of the National Treasury, and Bizimana Ruganintwali Pascal, Commissioner General of the Rwanda Revenue Authority.
The EOI office will serve as a central hub for the exchange of information between the RRA and tax authorities in other countries. This strategic initiative holds the potential to effectively combat tax evasion and avoidance while concurrently promoting transparency in taxation.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Minister Mitchell said that the UK is committed to supporting Rwanda in its efforts to build a strong and sustainable economy. "Sharing information between tax authorities is a key weapon in our armory,” he said.
“Rwanda is set to become one of the first lowest income countries to meet the international standards for exchange of information, and the UK is proud to be part of that journey," he added.
Minister Tusabe said that the EOI office is a "pivotal tool" in the fight against illicit financial flows.
"We firmly believe that concerted efforts are essential to effectively combat tax evasion and avoidance on a global scale," he said. "This office will undoubtedly be a cornerstone in addressing these concerns and bolstering domestic resource mobilization, a fundamental pillar of sustainable development."
The EOI office is the latest in a series of initiatives that the UK and Rwanda have undertaken to strengthen their cooperation on tax matters.
Rwanda is steadfast in its commitment to international standards, and is dedicated to implementing both the exchange of information upon request (EOIR) and the automated exchange of information on financial accounts (AEOI) standards.
“Our pledge to adopt the international AEOI standards by 2024 reflects our unwavering dedication to fostering transparency in taxation,” Tusabe said.
In 2015, the UK's tax authority, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), began providing capacity building support to the RRA. The UK Department for International Development, now known as the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), has also worked with the RRA to introduce the Electronic Cargo Tracking System (eCTs), which has helped to reduce transit time and improve cargo safety.
Furthermore, the inauguration of the EOI office is a significant milestone in the UK-Rwanda partnership on tax matters. It is a testament to the commitment of both countries to fighting tax evasion and avoidance, and promoting transparency in taxation.
The UK government also supports the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) program, which has seen ODI fellows actively contributing within RRA.