The government has suspended the increase of land taxes (immovable properties) until further assessment, according to the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr. Uzziel Ndagijimana.
The decision is one of the March 15, cabinet resolutions in which the government also eased Covid-19 restrictions as new infections drop and more Rwandans get vaccinated.
The government had raised land taxes from Rwf80 per square meter to Rwf300 per square meter— an increase of approximately 257 per cent.
In an interview with the national broadcaster, Ndagijimana attributed the government U-turn on the decision to the current economic situation
The turbulent economic situation brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic has affected many taxpayers.
“This means that taxpayers will consider the previous charges while paying land taxes,” he said.
In addition, Ndagijimana noted that government has also extended the tax deadline to allow more citizens the opportunity to pay for their land.
“The cabinet also resolved deadline is extended from the initial end of March to end of April, next month. This is to make sure that no citizen is left behind during this exercise.”
The move to raise land taxes stirred public outrage in December 2020.
Salton Niyitanga, a village leader in Kimihurura Sector appealed to the president that the government reconsiders its decision.
During his state of the nation address, President Paul Kagame requested concerned authorities to review the matter.
Uzziel Ndagijimana explained that following a review of the new tax regime, the decision has been postponed until further assessment.
“The tax collector will deduct the extra payment made by taxpayers who have already paid their 2020 property dues. The balance will be added to the individual’s next payment,” he said.
Consequently, the government will next year make an assessment of the property law and adopt amendments that will determine new taxes on immovable property, Ndagijimana reiterated.