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URA to lose Shs 2. 8 trillion in tax exemptions

The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) may lose Shs2.8 trillion to tax exemptions, credits and deferrals for the financial year 2022/2023.

This was revealed by the URA Commissioner General, John Musinguzi while presenting the entity’s Budget Framework Paper for the financial year 2023/2024 on Tuesday, 10 January 2023.

According to Musinguzi, over time they have been losing money in form of tax exemptions, allowances rate reliefs and credits and deferrals.
In the summary of the tax exemptions for the financial year 2021/2022, the major category for entities receiving tax exemptions are 1, 810 and of these, savings credit and cooperative societies (SACCOS) are1,289, 33 are religious institutions, 188 charitable organizations, 188 deemed under Value Added Tax (VAT) and 25 under strategic projects among others.

Some of the entities that have requested tax exemptions are, Zenitaka-Hyundai Joint Venture for Pay as You Earn (PAYE) of Shs725 million and withholding tax (WHT) of Shs11 billion, Brookside Limited Shs8 billion in corporation tax and St Mary’s Hospital withholding tax of Shs282 million.

Others are FINASI-International Specialized Hospital Uganda (Lubowa), Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC), and China Nanjing International Limited among others.

Musinguzi added that the revenue authority also registered 147,000 new taxpayers hence growing the tax register to 2,765,900 taxpayers representing a growth of 5.65 per cent against a targeted growth of 3.75 per cent.

The entity also collected Shs286 billion in surplus revenue.

“The net revenue collection was Shs5.4 trillion, posting a surplus of Shs286.44 billion and performance of 105.58 per cent. The collections accounted for 21.54 per cent of the annual target. A growth of Shs957 billion was realized compared to the first quarter of FY 2021/22,” Musinguzi said.

According to the Minister of Finance(Planning), Hon. Amos Lugolobi, government seeks to collect Shs29.7 trillion with tax revenue of Shs27.7 trillion and non-tax revenue of Shs2 trillion for the financial year 2023/2024.

He however, said that they are not introducing new tax measures, but will concentrate on enhancing tax administration measures.

Tororo North County Member of Parliament, Hon. Geoffrey Ekanya said that Parliament is supposed to be engaged in the approval of tax exemptions, but this has not been happening.
“We have the right to examine each item in this Shs2.8 million to establish whether the minister presented the report and complied with the act. It is the prerogative of Parliament to accept or reject it, but many times we sleep on our rights,” Ekanya said.

Kashongi County MP, Hon. Herbert Tayebwa said that some of the companies asking for tax exemptions are shocking, with many cases seeking an exemption from pay-as-you-earn (PAYE).
“And to my surprise, some of the exemptions relate to pay as you earn; it would be important that we have another engagement with URA over these exemptions,” he said.

Otuke County MP, Hon. Paul Omara hailed URA for collecting surplus taxes amid a tough economy.

Source: Parliament of Uganda website.

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