It is not clear the logic of Government taxing Government, a practice that has gone on for a long time with the NRM Government. This tax only makes sense if there are Government entities say projects that generate money and can by law be taxed. And, when this type of entities do exist, as the case of Nakivubo Stadium, it should be the accounts of such entities that URA should have mandate to discipline in case of non - tax compliance, but it would be unethical to encroach on an account like that of Mulago Hospital.
William Kituuka Kiwanuka
URA to go after defaulters
Publish Date: Jun 06, 2013
The Commissioner General Uganda Revenue Authority, Allen Kagina
By Samuel Sanya
The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) is set to crack down on 312 tax defaulters in a last ditch attempt to close a revenue collection gap before the financial year closes.
Projects under 13 government ministries are holding close to sh131b in unpaid taxes, with the National ID project alone, under the internal affairs ministry, holding sh40b.
Government ministries are holding 77% of the unpaid taxes, with individuals and companies around the country holding 23% or sh39b.
Annual tax collections remained sh157b off target at the end of April.
The tax body will rely on strong revenue collection figures in the months of May and June to hit the sh7.6 trillion target for the financial year 2012/13.
“The deficit is big, but we are optimistic that we will collect that money,” Paul Kyeyune, the acting URA commissioner corporate affairs, said at the release of the April tax collection figures.
Various activities planned under the current national budget may have to be forfeited should the tax body fail to hit targets. Planned government expenditure may eventually be lower, affecting economic growth and the provision of services.
Abudu Sallam Waiswa, the URA’s debt collection manager, notes that a huge chunk of money held by the government ministries has accrued from unpaid Value Added Tax, Withholding tax and Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE).
“We are going to enforce the law full throttle. The government ministries claim they lack sufficient budget allocations to pay their taxes, but this is money from service providers and they are just supposed to be conduits,” he said.
“We shall attach some bank accounts of government ministries and lock some offices if no agreement is reached in the next seven days,” he added.
Abudu Sallam noted that the action may disrupt activity at the government ministries. He added that the same ministries will be the main beneficiaries once the money is collected and disbursed from the national coffers.
Ten private companies have already paid off their arrears since yesterday’s notice. Over 200 are yet to agree on terms.
The Kenyan presidential elections earlier this year and lower fuel tax collections have been blamed for the annual tax collection deficit.
Intervention by the President saved 99 buses belonging to Pioneer Easy Bus from going under auction over an unpaid sh8b tax debt, while Nakivubo Stadium was temporarily shut over a sh388m tax debt.