Kampala, Uganda | ISAAC KHISA | Uganda’s corporate law firm, Ligormac Advocates, has broadened its legal services with the inclusion of tax related advisory services to customers.
This comes barely four months since the firm entered into a collaboration with the US-based Andersen Tax and the Andersen Global that has nearly 2,500 professionals in 88 offices around the world, last November.
The firm’s Managing Partner, Kabiito Karamagi, said the firm deliberately decided to diversify its products to offer customers all round financial services.
“Given the nature of our clientele, offering services that relate to finance, we decided to move away from a mere corporate law firm to a financing firm…we also decided to broaden the area of our practice, and tax is one of them,” he said during a breakfast meeting held at the Sheraton Kampala Hotel on March 16.
“This sharpening of focus was not only driven by the fact that the firm had over the years attracted a major clientele, and overwhelming confidence of the banking and finance industry, but also by the hard and cold realization that at the end of the day, the clients had a major concern of profit and loss.”
He said the firm also intends to fill the existing gaps in tax related issues especially with regard to resolving tax disputes as well as tax planning.
This comes at the time the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has intensified efforts to record at least the 14% growth in revenue to meet the Shs15trillion target set this financial year.
Latest data on tax collections shows that the taxman had recorded a Shs 324bn as revenue shortfall in the first half of the FY2017/18, partly attributed to low levels of economic activities, currency depreciation and the related price hikes for some commodities.
In the last financial year (2016/2017), the tax body recorded a 13% growth in revenue collection but ended up with close to Shs 500 billion revenue collection as shortfall of the Shs 13.2 trillion target.
Similarly, the year before that (2015/16), collections grew by 15.6% but with Shs 404 billion as shortfall of the Shs 11.6 trillion target.
Olivia Kyarimpa Matovu, the head of dispute resolution at the firm said their focus is to minimise cases of tax disputes and thus create more time for investors to do their businesses leading to the growth of their businesses.
She cited the 92 tax cases that were before the commercial court where only 21 were settled in 2016. In 2017, she said, 72 cases were before the commercial court but only 15 were settled, demonstrating how tiresome and hectic can be in resolving tax disputes in the courts of law, yet, at the same time run the businesses.
Ligomarc Advocates was founded as a sole practice over fifteen years ago by Ruth Sebatindira, but later became a partnership when Karamagi joined.
The partnership subsequently expanded to include Joshua Odoc Ogwal and Olivia Kyarimpa Matovu, both highly respected finance lawyers in Uganda.
The firm offers a broad range of national and international legal services for both individuals and corporations such as insolvency, banking, corporate governance, energy and mining, insurance, and regulatory compliance, tax advisory services such as transfer pricing, reorganization, and tax-related controversies.