Shs 7 trillion collected via e-tax payments
At least Shs 7 trillion worth of revenue resulting from 1.4 million payments have so far been receipted through electronic tax payments. This revenue is a result of over 360,000 tax returns that have been received online via the electronic tax system codenamed ‘e-Tax’ which commenced in June 2009.
e-Tax is a web-based application developed to automate URA’s services. It enables taxpayers to access domestic revenue services such as registration, returns, payments and objections, and appeals through the internet daily from any part of the world. In 2011, e-Tax was linked to the customs’ Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) to further ease transactions.
“Countrywide, taxpayers have embraced the e-Tax system and to date over 130,000 electronic Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TINs) have been issued,” said URA’s Manager Business Analysis, Myra Ochwo.
A TIN is a unique identifier that anyone dealing or intending to deal with URA must possess and is issued in accordance with sections 50 and 135 of the VAT Act and the Income Tax Act respectively.
“The system has boosted our ability in filing returns since we are not bound by distance, enables us to make self-assessments and pay in the bank without going to URA,” said Ephraim Sentamu Kaddu, the Secretary General of KACITA-Uganda. “It saves us costs of hiring services of middlemen, some of whom are unscrupulous.”
Owing to the system, tax declarations among the large and medium taxpayers have improved dramatically with a slower though steady improvement by smaller taxpayers. The e-Tax system enables taxpayers to access exchange rates, search other taxpayers’ TINs to ensure that they are dealing with registered taxpayers and print submitted forms. Other advantages include accessing the Withholding Tax exempted list, extend due dates for filing tax returns and access return history.
Additionally, taxpayers can make Owners Transport Vehicle (OTV) applications, dealer licence applications, access Tax Clearance Certificate formats, register motor vehicles, amend registration history and amend returns for individuals as well as access penalty reversal requests.
These services can only be enjoyed by a taxpayer, who has an account with URA. An account is created after applying for registration and getting a TIN. The pass code that is allocated to the taxpayer together with the TIN is actually used to create an account and a password.
Citing unstable internet, lack of skills among some of the users and the electronic bill that has not yet been passed into law - to allow electronic signatures hence necessitating submission of physical documents to URA offices, KACITA-Uganda’s Sentamu Kaddu called for more sensitization.
“We still need more computer education and a URA permanent office in KACITA office to teach our taxpayers how to do transactions online,” said Mr Kaddu, adding that KACITA was ready to mobilize the business community.”
Meanwhile, URA is in final stages of setting up tax hubs in various parts of business infested areas such as Kikuubo and Kiyembe, both trading communities in downtown Kampala.
“The URA office at Diamond Trust building shall turn into a fully fledged service centre point to support business persons,” said URA Central Service Office acting Manager, Dorah Okuja.
These tax hubs, to start in September, will be held weekly in selected parts of the central business district. At these hubs, URA officials will facilitate taxpayers in tax registration and online transactions, gather their views and sensitize them about tax matters.