Non-Governmental Organization (NGOs) under the Tax Justice Alliance Uganda (TJAU) have asked Parliament to act swiftly in passing tax amendment bills for Financial Year 2020/21 so as to revive the country’s economic sector which was greatly hit by Covid19 pandemic.
Addressing journalists at SEATINI offices in Bukoto, the group expressed worry on Parliament’s delay to pass the bills, noting that the same house uses “rocket speed” in passing most political bills and those laws touching them directly.
David Walakira a Budget Policy specialist from Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) said it was unfair for URA to continue collecting taxes from Ugandans basing on the old laws which existed before businesses were hit by the pandemic.
“The failure to pass the bills negatively impacted businesses which have had to incur expenses towards PAYE, Corporate Income Tax and interest on taxes and penalties despite their deferral and Suspension.”
Xavier Ejoyi from Action Aid asked Ugandan Parliamentarians to copy their counterparts in Kenya who made tax reforms in April this year after being hit by Covid 19.
As one of the means to revive the country’s economy which was affected by Coronavirus, Government committed to put in place a number of measures and these were announced by Hon Maria Kasaija the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.
These included deferring payment of Corporate Income Tax or Presumptive taxes for corporations as well as Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), deferring payment of PAYE and waiving interest on tax arrears.
All the above were translated into income Tax Amendment No.2 Bill, the Value Added Tax (Amendment) No.2 2020, The Excise Duty Amendment and The Tax Pricedures Code (Ammendment Bill) 2020
The tax procedures Code Bill gives a waiver of all outstanding interest and penalties owed by any tax payer as at June 30th 2020.
The VAT Bill provides for VAT exemption on materials used in containing Covid 19 which are still being charged 18% VAT.
These Bills have appeared on the order paper on various occasions but they have not been discussed on the floor as many have been eagerly waiting.