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A snapshot look at 2023 in RRA

The year 2023 has marked a significant milestone in the history of taxation in Rwanda, due to transformative changes that drove the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) towards its goal of evolving into a world-class, modern revenue agency optimally financing national needs.

With the guidance of H.E President Paul Kagame, tax laws reform was embarked on, spearheaded by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and RRA as a tax policy advisory. With the spirit of easing the tax burden, widening the tax base, and improving tax compliance, five tax laws were amended, namely: the Income Tax Law, Tax Procedure Law, VAT Law, Excise Tax Law, and the law determining the sources of revenue and property of decentralized entities.

In alignment with the reform of tax laws, a significant institutional reform was initiated based on a comprehensive analysis focusing on staff, technology, and taxation procedures. This led to the implementation of a new organizational structure, revision of job descriptions and procedures for taxation, and the initiation of a digital transformation strategy aimed at simplifying services. The institution also embarked on a cultural transformation journey, transitioning from a feared tax authority to a customer-oriented, friendly tax agency.

Besides lowering tax rates in the new laws, the digital transformation journey is making services accessibility easier. MyRRA, a single entry point for all tax services, was launched, bringing increased convenience to the way RRA customers were served. With MyRRA, taxpayers can view the status of their tax accounts, see upcoming tax declarations, declared and undeclared taxes, paid and unpaid taxes, declare and pay their taxes, and, more importantly, they can navigate the system in the language of their preference.

In addition, 2023 leaves a number of services automated or improved. The acquisition of Tax Clearance Certificate, TIN deactivation, and motor vehicle ownership transfer have already been automated, and TIN de-registration is on its way in the new year. Other services that improved in 2023 include tax appeal services, which moved from 90 days to between 15 and 30 days. TIN protection was implemented to prevent taxpayers from using their fellows' TINs to hide their stock, thus evading taxes.

On the international scene, 2023 has left RRA raising Rwanda’s flag high on the continent thanks to administrative initiatives undertaken in the past couple of years. These include systems integration and the initiation of a data science function in the institution that has led to the exploitation of data obtained through the usage of the Electronic Invoicing System (EBM). As a result, validation controls (purchase code for B2B, deductible expenses on taxable income, stock analysis, acquisition of EBM before clearing goods in customs, etc.) were deployed in taxation systems, prohibiting to some extent false tax declarations or other malpractices.

These initiatives attracted the attention of foreign countries, and two nations have already acquired the Electronic Invoicing System from Rwanda, with eight more applications in the pipeline. On the other hand, 2023 leaves RRA with a new office in charge of Exchange Of Information established following the signing of an agreement between the Government of Rwanda and Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, as well as the ratification of Mutual Administrative Assistance Convention (MAAC).

What to expect in 2024 from RRA:

  • Collection of Frw 2,637 billion, equivalent to 52.4% of the national budget, totaling Frw 5,030.1,
  • Robust tax education and awareness campaigns,
  • Further initiatives aimed at simplifying taxpayer services but also widening the base and increasing efficiency in revenue collection,
  • Automate more services to increase efficiency and convenience,
  • Expand the sources of data and strengthen data analytics to ensure optimum use of available data,
  • Seek to increase institutional capacity to efficiently handle new developments mentioned above.

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