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Tax payers elude revenue authority

By Vision Reporter

Added 8th April 2009 03:00 AM

LACK of a national identification system is hindering the expansion of the country’s tax base, the Uganda Revenue Authority commissioner general has said.

By Milton Olupot
and Mary Karugaba

LACK of a national identification system is hindering the expansion of the country’s tax base, the Uganda Revenue Authority commissioner general has said.

“Tax payers in Uganda keep shifting and it is so hard to locate them even if they have moved two streets away from their original location. Tax compliance has remained a thorny issue,” said Allen Kagina.

She was speaking at a tax workshop at Parliament’s conference hall yesterday.
Kagina also identified lack of a proper system for people’s physical addresses in the country as a challenge to the expansion of the tax base.

“There is a section of the taxpayer community that believes that civil servants and politicians do not pay taxes. This has affected compliance,” Kagina said.

She listed inadequate funding and loss of experienced staff to the better paying private companies, as some of the challenges to the tax body.

Despite the difficulties, Kagina said the revenue performance was improving and the contribution to the national budget had risen to 63% and is expected to rise to 65% this financial year. URA collected about sh3 trillion last financial year in taxes.

She stressed that Uganda must increase her domestic tax base to be able to cope with the global crisis. The national budget is about sh4 trillion.

The commissioner for domestic taxex, Moses Kajubi, said lack of an information and communications technology law had made it difficult for Uganda to deal with the modern electronic transactions.

The finance state minister for genereal duties, Fred Jachan Omach, observed that despite the challenges the country’s tax structure had greatly improved and was similar to the tax systems in other Sub-Saharan countries.

“Not much remains to be done except to administer it equitably and efficiently,” he said, adding that the Government aimed at having a stable tax system.

MPs Winfred Kiiza, Margaret Angufiru, Reagan Okumu and Birahwa Mukitale said excessive force used by URA’s enforcement officers in tax collection was tainting the tax body’s image.

Parliament Speaker Edward Ssekandi urged MPs to educate the electorate about tax collection.

Tax payers elude revenue authority

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