Rwanda is losing a massive Rwf 6.8 billion in tax evasion through a syndicate involving 25 companies.
According to Rwanda Revenue Authority the companies are said to issue forged invoices from electronic billing machines. About 700 forged invoices have been issued.
The companies involved in the malpractice cut across sectors of business including; construction, decoration, agriculture, suppliers, and hardware shops.
“We have noticed that some VAT registered tax payers are issuing electronic Billing Machine generated invoices to claim VAT inputs on fictitious sales,” said Pascal Bizimana Ruganintwali, Deputy commissioner General and commissioner for corporate Services.
He added; “other taxpayers understate the prices on the EBM receipts to evade taxes.”
Bizimana told Journalists that the companies help traders to increase the input and thus offsetting the output which helps them to claim more VAT returns.
“Some traders who have bought products pay VAT and when they sell to consumers, they collect VAT, “Bizimana said, “So they are permitted by law to claim the first VAT they paid.”
Most of these companies, Bizimana says, are registered at Rwanda Development Board (RDB), under ghost shareholders, while others register housemaids without their consent.
Some of the companies that talked to KT Press on condition of anonymity said they were tricked by traders to provide fictitious invoices while others said their staff connived with some people to sell off forged invoices.
“He begged me that he lost other invoices and I should help him to make invoices for him so that he doesn’t lose his money,” the owner of one of the 25 companies told KT Press.
Aimable Kayigi, commissioner in charge of domestic taxes says that such acts though at low level are likely to affect tax collection.
Currently, there are 13,867 electronic billing machines in use by traders registered under VAT. These are traders with a business turnover of Rwf 20 million annually or Rwf 5 million quarterly.
With 13,867 electronic billing machines in the 2015/2016 fiscal year; VAT contributed between 30 percent-40 percent of the total taxes collected. The tax body collected Rwf 986.6 billion in revenues in the same year.
As a response to this fraud, Ruganintwali said, “we will not consider the claimed invoices. We invite those taxpayers to immediately report to RRA for more details,” he added.
Accordingly, the tax body said the cases of the companies will be referred to prosecution and the authors will be denied all the facilities given to compliant taxpayers including; Quitus Fiscal , customs facilities like blue channel, gold card scheme, authorized economic operators and cargo mobile scanning.
The EBM were introduced in 2013 to curb VAT evasion.
Below is a list of 25 companies involved in issuing fictitious invoices from electronic billing machines.
GN TRADING CO. SARL
GEORGES MUGISHA MUSONI
SUPER DÉCOR LTD
IMECO TRADING LTD
QUALITY BUSIENSS CENTER LTD
FFGAJ BUILDING CONSTRUCTION AND SUPPLIERS LTD
BEF AND DECUJUS GROUP LTD
GOOD DREAM LTD
SHIFROR BUSIENSS LTD
SUPER LIGHT TRADING LTD
ELVA(ELEVAGEE ET VALORISATION AGRICOLE) LTD
MULINDA TRADING COMPANY
MATERIAUX DE CONSTRUCTION DE ANGELS LTD
BEI RAHISI COMPANY LTD
UGOR SUPPLIERS LTD
M& A SUPPLIER COMPANY LTD
HEVEAVY WARK SUPLIERS LTD
DEXIA HARDWARE LTD
MUGABE CONSTRUCTION AND CARPENTRY LTD
VITE BUSIENSS LTD