This is the second circle of Rwanda’s bureaucratic hell. It took me the best part of two hours to navigate the first circle. Once that was done, I had a third and final waiting room to navigate before finally getting my hands on a shiny new 2010 car tax disk.
In all, my first experience of paying taxes at the Rwanda Revenue Authority took a total of 6 hours from start to finish. In that time, I shuffled from chair to chair from the billing office, where I collected my bill (2 hours), round the corner to “the bank” to pay said bill (3 hours), and finally to present my receipt in a third office so I could collect my car tax disk (1 hour).
I reckon I must have sat on at least 400 different chairs as I, along with several hundred, possibly thousands, of Rwandans moved slowly from chair to chair through the three separate departments during the 6 hour period.
I’m told many Rwandans pay someone to do the waiting for them. I’m glad I didn’t, even if I am utterly knackered right now as a result. It’s good to learn how things work here – I’m used to pretty much everything from restaurants, banks, hairdressers and drivers being slow in Rwanda, but the Rwanda Revenue Authority took slow to a new low today. 6 hours…
In all fairness to the tax authorities, everyone who turned up to pay their end of year taxes today left it way too late – the deadline for tax payments is March 31st. And, as of 10 March only 30% had coughed up the sobs. Moral of the story: to avoid the three circles of hell, pay your taxes early, like in January.
But Rwanda… maybe a one-stop – not a three-stop – shop might make more sense? And a few more cashier’s desks? And how about some entertainment? Puppets? Dancing? Jugglers? How about a picture or two on the wall? Or maybe just a bucketful of Mogadon to mong out for a while. My advice, take a book, a big book. And a packed lunch.
PS. Interestingly, for car tax disk fans the world over, this year’s disk is all in English. Last year’s was all in French.
Today is the final day for paying all taxes across the country and thousands of taxpayers have been flocking several offices in Kigali City to clear their taxes to avoid penalties.
Yesterday afternoon, Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) head offices in Kimihurura, was crowded by thousands of taxpayers, some saying that they had lined up for days.
“I have been coming here since Monday, but the big number of people has made it difficult for me to clear the taxes,” Daniel Makombe, one of the taxpayers at the RRA head office said.
“I have been here since morning, but up to now, I have failed to make it inside to pay,” Phoebe Kayitesi, another taxpayer said. “I don’t know if I will clear today or tomorrow…but I will keep on trying.” link