URA enforces the collection of tuition fees from Makerere University

By Moses Kidandi
Uganda Revenue Authority has started collecting tuition fees from Makerere university.

The University Bursar Everest Bainomugisha has directed 2019/20 intake to pay fees direct to Banks using the URA portal.

The fees payment structure has been a subject of debate following a proposal to have the money paid to URA to enable Government have proper planning for the university.

Government sponsored students have also been directed to register with their respective wardens to enable the processing of food and living allowances.

The the new circular also advises continuing students to pay two hundred thousand shillings for the smooth running of the university before end of August.

URA asks government departments to account directly to the public

By Moses Kidandi
Uganda Revenue Authority has asked all Government departments across the country to start accounting directly to the citizens about the way the use Government funds allocated to them.

The call was made by the commissioner General Uganda Revenue Authority Doris Akol at East Kololo primary school Kampala as URA together with ministry of finance handed over an assortment of scholastic materials and computers to the school.

The donation to East Kololo primary school which is fully funded by the Government is part of activities being conducted by the ministry of finance,Uganda Revenue Authority and other Government agencies meant to observe the National Budget months for the financial year 2019/2020.

Doris Akol says accounting to the public is one of the was to ensure that Government money is properly utilized.

New income tax amendment rejects government proposal to tax losses

By Alice Lubwama
Parliament has passed the income tax amendment bill rejecting government proposal to begin taxing companies that have been making losses for the past seven years.

The Uganda revenue authority had proposed an amendment in the Income Tax Act to introduce a tax penalty for a companies which report losses for a consecutive period of seven years of income on gross turnover for every year.

The state minister for finance in charge of planning David Bahati argued that the amendment would be critical at limiting revenue losses that occurs when a business that is making profit takes advantage of an assessed loss to avoid paying revenue for years.

Although majority of MPs on the Finance Committee Okayed the move to tax loss making companies, but budadiri west MP Nandala Mafabi rejected the move authoring a minority report and warned the Executive against creating an Act called Loss Tax Act.

The MP has also urged the Uganda revenue authority to intensify audits and investigations to discover those tax payers evading taxes but not charge a tax of 0.5%.

The chairperson of the Finance Committee of parliament Henry Musasizi said that they needed to amend the act since some companies were using an existing lacuna in the law to evade taxes.

“We have a list of the companies which belong to that category [of reporting losses]…they are suspected to be producing two sets of accounts, one for the management and another for the tax body,” he said.

But Butambala county mp Muhammad Kivumbi who successfully proposed the deletion of the proposed tax challenged the proposition that Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) lacks the basic competence to detect or avert such alleged false accounting.

“Last year, we enhanced the capacity of Uganda Revenue Authority by 90 billion shillings so that they can have the capacity to expand the tax base. Therefore, the argument that the Chair fronts does not stand,” Kivumbi said.

Even though the minister of state for planning Bahati tried to make MPs support his proposal saying that government will lose 40 billion they planned to raise from the measure and it is something that is done in other countries the MPs did not heed to his explanations and the bill was passed without the amendment.

Some of the companies that were meant to pay the tax loss include Barclays bank, NSSF, the micro finance support center, Munyonyo common wealth resort limited, hotel Africana among others

URA arrests smugglers, impounds dangerous cosmetics coming in from Congo

By Moses Kidandi
A joint operation of Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has seized over 520 cartons of cosmetics valued at 176 Million Shillings that have been smuggled from Democratic Republic of Congo to Uganda.

URA Acting Assistant Commissioner Abel Kagumire says that they also arrested two suspected smugglers who are part of the group that caused URA a loss of over 135million shillings from the 300 smuggled cartons of cosmetics in the country yet they have dangerous bleaching chemicals.

Nakivubo stadium closed over 480 million

By Robert Ssegawa

The Uganda Revenue Authority -URA has closed off Nakivubo stadium over 480 million tax debt that has accumulated since 2013.

URA debt manager Abdusalam Waiswa says the management of Nakivubo has failed to fulfill its promise on remitting the taxes as per 2014 memorandum of understanding which was signed by both parties.

He adds that all the people operating various businesses in Nakivubo will not be allowed to continue with activities until management clears the debt warning that those who defied the order risk being arrested.

Waiswa says that failure to clear the debt will prompt the tax body to auction some of the property to recover the money

Photo: www.monitor.co.ug

URA rearrests Fuelex boss for invading taxes

The Uganda Revenue Authority has rearrested the owner of Fuelex fuel stations for allegedly smuggling into the country fuel and evading taxes.

John Imaniraguha was arrested at Entebbe International airport as he attempted to flee the country with his family, though his next destination was not known at the time of filing this story.

The businessman who was paraded before the media at URA’s Nakawa head office, had two days go been arrested by URA’s law enforcement officers who handed him over to Jinja Road Police Station but he vanished under unexplained circumstances.

While addressing the media shortly after his arrest, Sarah Banage, the Assistant Commissioner Public and Corporate Affairs, said the arrest of Imaniraguha is a relief, eight years after being on the wanted list.

She added that the businessman’s acts of smuggling fuel and selling it at a lower market price, had distorted the fuel industry and that his eventual arrest will level the fuel market ground.

Banage explained that they have enough evidence to pin Imaniraguha in courts of law and that very soon, they will be produced him before the Anti-Corruption Court and formally charged.

This is not the first time that the businessman finds himself in the wrong books of the tax body.

In 2010, URA closed his Nalukolongo Fuelex branch over tax evasion of over shillings 42 million.

The closure of Nalukolongo Fuelex station followed intelligence information that a tanker loaded with about 50,000 litres of fuel worth shillings 42 million had been offloaded at his station and yet the same tanker had earlier been cleared by URA at Busia border as being destined for Congo, meaning it had been exempted from paying taxes.



UK experts’ training to aid URA to curb car thefts

Crime intelligence experts from United Kingdom will this week conduct training for the enforcement team of Uganda Revenue Authority on how to fight the shipping of stolen vehicles and other prohibited goods.

Mark Naughin, from the UK’s National Vehicle Crime Intelligence, told Uganda Radio Network, that the training is meant to plug loopholes in Uganda’s customs points especially when dealing with car imports from UK.

Naughin was speaking on the sidelines during the handover of 24 luxurious cars to British authorities that were stolen from the UK and shipped to Uganda. The cars were impounded by Uganda Police and URA in July last year in an operation code-named Navigation.

According to Naughin, the training will include techniques in identifying criminality in imports.

Naughin said the handover of the cars took long because the URA team lacked some specialised training in identification of the cars untill vehicle crime intelligence officers from the UK had to come and identify them.

Naughin explained that even if a car is stolen the original identification details can never be tampered with. He said in the UK they have a relatively successful system, which impounds most stolen cars, adding that once the loopholes overseas are plugged the number of stolen cars shipped abroad will reduce significantly.

Earlier, the British High Commissioner to Uganda, Alison Blackburne, told the media that the training is significant because theft of cars will always be there despite stringent measures.

According to Naughin, in London alone at least two Range Rover cars are stolen daily. He said the thieves like the Range Rover Vogue model the most.

According to the Assistant Commissioner for Supervision, James Kisaale, some of the stolen vehicles are disguised or concealed as other goods.

He said one time an importer, whom he did not name, shipped in two cars from the UK. While he declared one car which was genuine, he hid the stolen one in thick foams.






URA half year revenues grow by 20 percent

Uganda Revenue Authority- URA registered a surplus of Shillings 47.5 billion in the first half of the 2015/2016 financial year. According to Doris Akol, the Commissioner General, Uganda Revenue Authority, they had set a target of Shillings 5.5 trillion but collected Shillings 47.5 billion in excess.

While addressing the URA quarterly media briefing, Akol said the surplus revenue came from wholesale and retail, manufacturing and ICT sectors.

She said the revenue body posted 20 percent growth in the half year revenue collection, adding that she is optimistic the year will end well despite the anxiety about the next general elections. Akol attributed the good results to efficient administrative measures, which have simplified tax payment.

Baguma Kanyesigye, the URA Assistant Commissioner in Charge of Compliance Management, notes that the partnership between URA, KCCA, local governments and the finance ministry has yielded 100,000 new names on the tax register, bringing 800,000, the number of tax payers.
The URA is expected to collect 11.6 trillion Shillings this financial year, from the previous target of 9.7 trillion Shillings.


URA Mobile Money Platform makes Tax Payment Process Easy, Convenient

“At Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), we are a client-focused and responsive organisation that attracts and nurtures talent and innovation to deliver a great client experience in an enjoyable environment. This culture statement defines who we are.”

URA Mobile Money Platform Makes Tax Payment Process Easy.

On November 24, in partnership with MTN and Stanbic Bank, we launched our mobile money payment platform. The objective of this is to promote convenience for clients in meeting their tax payment obligations. This is based on the fact that at least 52.3 per cent of Ugandans have access to a mobile phone, according to a recent release by Uganda Communications Commission (UCC).

This indicates that as a nation, we are on a path to maximum tele-density penetration. URA is cognizant of the fact that many of our clients, particularly in the Informal Sector, use and rely on mobile phones to transact their businesses. This means that they must be facilitated to meet their obligations with the greatest ease possible.

The Mobile Money Tax Payment platform is available to all our clients who have access to the MTN mobile money service and will initially be available for payments not exceeding Shs 4m for the following taxes and fees:-

  1. All domestic taxes like Income Tax, VAT, PAYE, Excise duty, Gaming and Pool Betting and Withholding Tax.
  2. Import taxes assessed on passenger baggage and post parcels baggage.
  3. Non Tax Revenues like Motor Vehicle Transfers, driving permits, stamp duty, etc.
  4. Other Non-Tax Revenues like Police Express Penalties, Court fees, Registration fees under Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB), Passport Fees, etc.

We are hopeful that other telecoms will soon come on board so that the reach is spread even wider. Taxpayers are encouraged to embrace this platform to enjoy the several benefits that arise such as the reduced cost of compliance, maximising time savings and the convenience of payment anytime and anywhere. Our contact and service centres remain open to provide hand-holding and troubleshooting support to our clients as they use the service.