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Seven million Ugandans evading taxes: URA

Commissioner General Uganda Revenue Authority John R Musinguzi. File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Uganda Revenue Authority-URA is concerned about the increasing non-compliance of taxpayers in the country.

Speaking during the post-budget conference in Fort Portal, Julius Nkwasire, the Assistant Commissioner of Customs said about 7 million people are in business but not meeting their tax obligations.

According to Nkwasire, the country is still struggling to raise sufficient revenue which he said has continued to expose Uganda to engage in external borrowing which comes with strings attached.

He says that URA has put in place measures to expand their tax register, by rolling out intensive tax education and improving amendments on the income tax and stamp duty tax.

Herbert Rusoke, the Assistant Commissioner of Finance at Uganda Revenue Authority, says that the tax body has introduced new hefty fines that will act as deterrent measures against business proprietors in the country who are fond of interfering with digital systems with intentions to evade tax from the URA officials.

“We realized we have to take care of the non-compliant taxpayers, if we put digital tracking solutions and you tamper with it you will be forced to pay 1500 currency points of which each is at 20,000 shillings which is equivalent to 30 million shillings,” Rusoke said.

Rusoke said that URA is determined to aggressively roll out a tax-paying culture to every Ugandan conducting business, and also ensure the introduced measures yield results in order to finance the 2022/2023 financial year budget.

Angela Byangwa, the Executive Director of Rwenzori Anti-Corruption Coalition asked URA to establish a strong collaboration with anti-corruption agencies to fight the vice of tax evasion.

Byangwa appreciated Uganda Revenue Authority for coming out to sensitize the public about the relevance of tax compliance.

Two weeks ago, eight business people were apprehended in violation of tax laws, in regard to the failure to pay Value Added Tax (VAT), failure to pay in time or misinformation, among others.

VAT is charged at the rate of 18 per cent on the supply of most goods and services in the course of business in Uganda. Uganda tax laws require that Businesses that attract revenues of 150 million Shillings a year register for VAT, and once registered, a business is expected to charge the tax on every sale in Uganda.

Although VAT contributes between 3 and 3.5 trillion Shillings in government revenues a year, URA says taxpayers have continued to evade and avoid the tax even with newly introduced systems like the Electronic Fiscal Receipting and Invoicing System for VAT declaration, a system that ensures that the transaction details and the taxes charged are remitted to URA immediately.

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