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‘We will pay tax, but please be clear, transparent’ CSOs tell URA

Cissy Kagaba, Executive Director, Anti Corruption Coalition Uganda
Cissy Kagaba, Executive Director, Anti Corruption Coalition Uganda

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have challenged Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to be fair, clear and transparent to encourage everyone to pay taxes.

“It is our responsibility to pay taxes and as citizens we have an obligation of questioning how our money is used.  If we have a clear system, then improved service delivery is key,” Cissy Kagaba, the Executive Director Anti Corruption Coalition Uganda (ACCU) said at a joint Integrity Forum Thursday with URA.

ACCU is a national umbrella membership organization that brings together 17 like minded CSOs

“Citizens don’t pay taxes because often they don’t see value for the money. Also there are no or few useful resources left behind from international companies that are exempted from tax since they take the money back to their countries.” Kagaba added.

“CSOS are involved in charitable activities; do you treat them the same way you treat businesses. Where is equity? Unfair tax exemptions benefiting multinationals only. Exemptions should be extended to CSOs,” said AACU board chairman Nicolas Opiyo.

Begumisa reminded everyone that any person earning above 235,000 whether an intern or consultant or casual worker is subjected to Pay As You Earn

URA Commissioner Internal Audit and Compliance Department Protazio Begumisa said promoting integrity is a collective responsibility He said the solution for not getting annoying messages reminding one of tax obligations, is filing returns in time.

“If corruption is managed, we would realise enough to help finance government’s budget and citizens would get good services they deserve.”

Begumisa
URA’s Begumisa

The dialogue held at Golf Course Hotel discussed tax compliance among the CSOs under the theme, “A transparent and Accountable Taxation System.

URA Assistant Commercial Compliance Management Domestic Taxes Department, Silajji Kanyesigye asserts to the low involvement, “Our culture of failing to be accountable hinders service delivery; people don’t keep records or respond (communicate) to tax payment reminders and will appear after URA assesses them with kinds of excuses.”

 

During the dialogue, some complaints were pointed at giving tax incentives like exemptions to multinational investors and setting unfavourable ground for local companies. Other challenges faced by CSOs included tax unfairness, unclear basis for tax computation and exorbitant tax assessments plus taxes that people are ignorant about.

Begumisa finally reminded everyone that any person earning above 235,000 whether an intern or consultant or casual worker is subjected to Pay As You Earn because all this is associated with tax benefits that include building infrastructure, security and other intangible results,

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