A partnership between four Uganda government institutions to widen the tax base through improved collaboration is already bearing fruits as it helped realize an extra sh47.6.bn shillings in revenue in 2015/16.
The Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB), Ministry of Local Government, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) on Thursday outlined the benefits of their collaboration called the Taxpayer Register Expansion Program (TREP).
“The partnership aims to support the citizens involved in generating income, formalize their business ventures as required by the laws,” URA Commissioner General Doris Akol told the press at Hotel Africana in Kampala today.
The URA head said they were not only targeting the informal sector, but making it easier for already established business ventures.
“TREP aims to bring all business registration services nearer to people, reduce cost and time taken to formally register a business to less than 8 hours by breaking the silos these government institutions originally operated in,” Akol revealed.
Akol was joined at the press briefing by Ezra Ssebuwufu, KCCA Manager Revenue Collection, Justinian Niwagaba, the Commissioner for Urban administration Ministry of Local Government and Bemanya Twebaze the URSB Registrar General.
TREP is a collaborative implementation framework aimed at expanding the taxpayer base and collection of taxes from small businesses. It was provided for during the budget speech for the Financial Year 2013/14.
The TREP program has already realized sh47.6.Bn in revenue since the joint operations began at the beginning of FY 2015/16. KCCA and URA have also registered 134,332 new businesses and taxpayers.
TREP not introducing new taxes
Through joint teams – URA, KCCA, Local Government and URSB – TREP engages in sensitizing clients on the requirements and procedures relating to formalizing businesses, getting business names, registration for taxes and obligations of taxpayers and trade licensing requirements. This, Akol said, will ensures cost saving for business owners by eliminating intermediaries who overcharge for usually free services.
Akol stressed that there are no new taxes the government is collecting under the program. TREP, Akol said, is intended to ensure that all business owners comply with their tax obligations already provided for in the respective laws.
“We urge all business owners to take advantage of the opportunities provided under the TREP collaboration to formalize their businesses, register and pay the taxes and fees due,” Akol said.
KCCA’s Ssebuwufu said the TREP partnership will enable the four government institutions to pool resources, and use their budgets better especially in outreach programmes that will benefit the businesses. “Instead of having say four different radio or TV sensitization shows, we will now budget for one show and save the resources to improve the rest of the city’s infastructure,” Ssebuwufu said.
Akol said the benefits of registering one’s business with URA and the Uganda Registration Services Bureau include safeguarding one’s business name, easier access loans and tenders and ensuring that those entitled to tax benefits like claim of tax credits get them. She said it will also improve Uganda’s competitiveness in the regional markets like the East African Community.
TREP has already set up nine one stop shops (OSS) in Kampala in the five KCCA divisions, at KCCA City Hall, at URSB’s Plot 5, George Street , Georgian House, at URA’s Central Business District,Diamond Trust and at their Down Town liaison offices, Aponye Building
The plan is that by end of September 2016, TERP will have at least a one Stop Shop in each of the Municipalities in the greater Kampala Nansana, Entebbe, Makindye Ssabagabo, Mukono and Kira before spreading countrywide in October.
Taxes and fees administered under TERP program:-
- Presumptive tax, Withholding tax and Rental tax collected by Uganda Revenue Authority.
- Local Service Tax,Local Hotel Tax,Property Rates and Trading Licenses collected by KCCA & Local Government.
- Business name and Company registration fees by URSB.
The projected revenue 2018/18 collections by Institutions:
|LGs – 34MCs||202,937,847,512|