RRA launches reward program for EBM invoice compliance

By Esher Muhozi
On 28 March 2024 at 11:37

The Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) has launched a program called Tengamara and VAT, which rewards end consumers who request EBM (Electronic Billing Machine) invoices, while also offering rewards to those who report merchants refusing to provide such invoices.

This initiative was officially launched in a campaign held in Nyabugogo and at the Gisozi marketplace on March 27, 2024.

Included in Ministerial Order No. 002/24/03/TC of March 8, 2024, it stipulates rewards based on the Value Added Tax (VAT) for the end consumer who requests an EBM receipt, where they will receive 10% of the VAT amount on the invoice.

Furthermore, it is decided that anyone reporting a merchant who fails to provide an EBM invoice or issues one with incorrect amounts will receive 50% of the fines imposed on the merchant.

Deputy Commissioner in charge of Taxpayer Services and Communication at RRA, Jean Paulin Uwitonze, explained how consumers could register for this new system to receive VAT-related rewards.

Uwitonze noted that Tengamara and VAT aim to thank end consumers for consistently requesting EBM invoices, highlighting that out of the 18% VAT on these invoices, consumers would be rewarded with 10% of it.

This means, for example, if an end consumer purchases goods or services worth 1000 Rwandan Francs, out of which 180 Francs go to the merchant as VAT, the consumers who request EBM invoices will receive 10% of this amount, with the remainder going to the state treasury. Rewards will also be given to consumers who report merchants not issuing these invoices.

The law mandates that a VAT-registered merchant who fails to issue an EBM receipt will be fined ten times the evaded VAT amount, doubling to twenty times for repeated offenses. Here, the end consumer who reports will receive 50% of these fines, and if the merchant is ordered to issue a receipt they hadn’t, the consumer gets 10% of it.

To participate in Tengamara and VAT, consumers need to register with their national ID number and a preferred telephone number for receiving rewards or a bank account.

Registration is through the myrra.rra.go.rw website or by dialing *800# on a phone and following instructions.

After registering, consumers can begin requesting EBM invoices, asking merchants to include their registered phone number on these receipts. However, if the EBM machine is offline, the reward will be applied once the machine is connected to the internet.

Participants in Tengamara can check their rewards and any fines reported on merchants after payment through the same registration channel.

To report non-compliant merchants or discrepancies in invoices, consumers can use the RRA’s WhatsApp number, providing the merchant’s telephone number, Tax Identification Number (TIN) if known, business location, and evidence such as photos proving payment.

This VAT reward system will distribute rewards quarterly, with considerations to make it monthly since some merchants pay VAT monthly. Rewards will be transferred via the phone number or bank account used for registration, allowing participants to monitor their account status.

Commissioner Uwitonze reminded merchants that there is no excuse for not issuing EBM invoices, as the machines can operate offline and in multiple languages, including Kinyarwanda, encouraging Rwandans to always request EBM invoices as part of their contribution to national development.

Some consumers attending the launch expressed their commitment to requesting EBM invoices for every purchase, recognizing their right to receive them.

EBM electronic invoicing began in Rwanda in October 2013 to reduce tax evasion. The RRA plans to continue promoting the request for EBM invoices nationwide to improve awareness and understanding of this technology in commerce, both for consumers and merchants, emphasizing the importance of taxes in national development.

Deputy Commissioner in charge of Taxpayer Services and Communication at RRA, Jean Paulin Uwitonze, explained how consumers could register for this new system to receive VAT-related rewards.