Decentralized Taxes


Houses and buildings   Tax base  Taxable elements

Within the framework of the tax on houses and buildings, the taxable product will not be the income generated by the houses and buildings but the value of these goods. This value is the updated cost price. It concerns the intrinsic value of these goods at the beginning of the fiscal year. This value is generally derived from expert valuers who provide a value for this building by taking into account of relevant improvements and deteriorations, and any cost of living variations relevant since the date of its construction.


According to the Law on the Finance of Districts (LFD), theoretically taxable houses and buildings for which the owner does not have a title document and which are not recorded with the Land Service are exempted. This is done in order to ensure that small rural dwellings are not subject to the tax.

Moreover, the following houses and buildings/ parts of buildings are exempt from tax (Article 13 LFD):

  • Houses and buildings assigned for a medical use;
  • Houses and buildings assigned for a social use and for school assistance when they are used for activities with a non profit-making motivation;
  • Houses and buildings assigned exclusively to a scientific or professional activity and used for the activities with a non profit-making goal;
  • Houses and buildings belonging to the State, publicly-owned establishments and local authorities when they are not intended for a regular commercial practice;
  • Houses and buildings used exclusively for worship by approved religious organisations, except for those used for activities with a profit-making motive;
  • Houses and buildings occupied by diplomatic missions and consulates of foreign countries, where conditions of reciprocity exist.

Payment of tax

The fixing of the rate of tax deals is the responsibility of District Councils. However, this rate must lie between 0.1% and 0.2% of the taxable Amount (Article 14 LFD). The tax must be paid, at the latest, by March 31st of each year,  on the same dates as that applying to rental income (art.61 in fine LFD).

Undeveloped sites  Tax base  Principle

Tax on undeveloped sites is a specific tax, i.e. a tax charge based on a material unit. This unit is surface area (m² or hectare). The grounds concerned are all undeveloped sites, whether they are recorded or not, that relate to an emphyteutic lease (this is defined as a real estate contract specifying that the lessee must improve the property by construction), hire or a document of title (art.16 LFD).


For all undeveloped sites, the five first (5) hectares are exempt from tax (Article 17 LFD). Moreover, several other categories of site are exempted of tax (art.18 LFD):

  • Grounds with services related to education, health, research, or sport activities, if it is established that they are not being used for a private commercial purpose;
  • Grounds on which are installed, or on which will be installed, infrastructures of the State and those of local government;
  • Grounds on which diplomatic missions of the foreign countries accredited in Rwanda are established, provided that reciprocal agreements with these countries exist;

Grounds assigned for a philanthropic purpose. Qualifying activities are determined by a decree of the Minister in charge of  Social Affairs.

Payment of tax

Taxes on undeveloped sites are fixed by District Councils but must be within the limits determined by the law (art 17 LFD):

  • In the town of Kigali, the tax must be between 20 and 50 RwF per m²; o In other urban districts, the tax must be between 10 and 20 RwF per m²;  o In trade centres, the tax must be between 1 and 10 RwF per m²;
  • In rural areas, the tax on undeveloped sites must not be more than 1000 RwF per hectare. When the area is more than twenty hectares (20ha), the tax on the area above the first 20 hectares must be between one thousand and one (1001) RwF and two thousand (2000 ) RwF per hectare.

If the sites without construction are touristic locations, the tax is increased by ten percent (10%) of the ordinary annual tax. For the purposes of calculating the tax, fractions of square metres (m²) and fractions of hectares are ignored.

In conclusion, art 28 LFD, as modified by the law of 1st October 2003, provides that the tax due must, at the latest, be declared and paid to the receiver of the taxes of the district by March 31st of the following fiscal year.


Trading licence tax is paid by any person who commences a profit-oriented activity in Rwanda[1].

Government entities are however exempted from trading license tax[2].

Tax rate

Trading licence tax shall be calculated on the basis of the figures included in the following tables[3]: The trading licence is paid for each year and for seasonal activities a part year counts as a whole year See  Law 59/2011… the sources of revenue.. of decentralised entities..  The exception is where an activity commences after 1 January; in this case, the Licence fee is proportionate.

[1] Art. 39 of law n° 59/2011.

[2] Art. 39 of law n° 59/2011

[3] Art. 43 of law n° 59/2011


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