The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) is taking significant strides towards improving tax efficiency and compliance by overhauling the national taxpayers’ ledger management system. The initiative was disclosed by URA Commissioner General John Musinguzi Rujoki during the inauguration of the South-Western Regional Offices for Customs and Domestic Taxes in Masaka City, constructed at a cost of 9.78 billion shillings.
The newly implemented digitalized system allows taxpayers to effortlessly monitor their tax payment records, assess outstanding tax obligations, make timely declarations, and file returns. Notably, this is achieved without the necessity for physical interaction with URA staff, streamlining the process for computing Value Added Tax (VAT).
Musinguzi emphasizes that, besides enhancing transparency in revenue collection and management, the revamped system addresses the issue of over-assessment of taxpayers. Over-assessment has been identified as a contributing factor to tax evasion and non-compliance. The simplified taxpayer ledger provides a concise summary of a taxpayer’s transactions, detailing principal tax, penal tax, interest, and any outstanding balance.
Staff members across the country have been tasked with training clients on navigating the new system, ensuring effective implementation. Musinguzi is optimistic that these reforms will significantly contribute to expanding the country’s tax collection, evident in the growing taxpayers’ register.
Preliminary figures from the first quarter of the current financial year (July to September) indicate a noteworthy improvement in revenue collection, reaching 6.015 trillion shillings, reflecting an 11.3 percent growth compared to the previous year’s first-quarter shortfall of 607.47 billion shillings.
To further bridge the gap between the authority and taxpayers, the URA is committed to rolling out innovative technological and physical infrastructure. Sarah Chelangat, URA Commissioner for Domestic Taxes, encourages political leadership to support domestic business growth and urges citizens to embrace digitalized systems, emphasizing the authority’s dedication to enhancing customer relations through a broader range of innovations.
However, not all voices are entirely supportive. Mathias Mpuuga Nsamba, the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, urges the URA to avoid overly repressive measures against ordinary taxpayers while focusing on habitual defaulters. He calls for a continuous effort to engage with various sectors to ensure widespread understanding of civic responsibilities related to tax payment.
State Minister for Microfinance Haruna Kyeyune Kasolo adds another perspective, challenging the URA to demystify tax policies and calculations. He emphasizes the need for clear explanations in local languages to facilitate better understanding and, consequently, higher compliance among the general population.