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Kasese traders ask URA to intensify tax education

Jolly Biira wants URA to routinely engage tax payers on any taxation matters. URN_Photo

Kasese, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Business community in Kasese District has asked Uganda Revenue Authority-URA to create adequate awareness to enhance tax compliance.

They say that there has been a huge gap in communication and information dissemination and if not addressed it will be difficult for the tax body to realize its targets.

During a post-budget meeting with officials from URA and the Ministry of Finance, the taxpayers were also unhappy that URA is setting high tax collection targets without considering the fall in key economic enterprises like agriculture and mining.

Ambassador James Mbahimba said that most average business persons are ignorant of taxes imposed on them and in turn elude paying. He added that most business people are illiterate and yet URA officials keep referring them to use online platforms including the website which they can hardly navigate.

Mbahimba said that in setting tax collection targets, the tax body should take into consideration the local social and economic challenges people are facing, or else businesses will fail.

Kameli Zephania said it’s time URA starts working with tax agencies to enhance tax education. He added that most taxation messages are in English and yet a large section of the local business community is less educated to adequately understand tax matters written in English.

Francis Mugisa Kithula a local businessman said there is a need for routine URA-local business community engagements so that traders can present their concerns. He added that they understand that paying tax is an obligation but it shouldn’t be tax that is forcing local people out of business.

Rev. Noah Masereka and Julius Kato said that URA has come up with certain policies without the input of the taxpayer.

Jolly Biira, another trader in Kasese town was unhappy that URA officials rush to demand for taxes but do not allocate adequate time to sensitize the citizens about taxes.

But David Okwi, a senior economist with the Department of project analysis and public investment in the Ministry of Finance, said they are deepening information sharing, collecting feedback, and enhancing accountability as steps towards bringing taxpayers closer to the relevant ministries and agencies.

Robert Kariisa said URA is coming out in the next financial year to expand community engagements on tax matters.