Mbarara traders tipped on taxation

URA participated in the recently concluded Mbarara City Traders’ Symposium, where it engaged traders on several issues, including customs processes and the Electronic Fiscal Receipting and Invoicing Solution (EFRIS), among others.

Dennis Kugonza Kateeba, the Commissioner of Tax Investigations, who represented the Commissioner General, commended the Mbarara business community for choosing to dialogue with URA and other stakeholders to find solutions to the challenges affecting their businesses.

He promised the traders more sensitization to support them in understanding their obligations and ease compliance.

“I have heard most of your submissions; they mostly require strong tax education. We are going to work hand in hand with the Mbarara City Traders Association (MBACITA) to ensure that we teach you what you are supposed to pay and how to pay.”

Dr. Okaka Geoffrey, the Assistant Commissioner of Field Services, addressed concerns about valuation, highlighting that the tax body uses various methods to ascertain the value of imported goods.

“The first valuation method applied by Customs is the invoice value; if URA deems it fit, then taxes are levied using the same. The problem arises when traders do invoice trading,” Okaka explained.

He warned traders against the practice, as it comes with dire consequences that can disrupt their businesses.

During the engagement, Emmanuel Bichetero, the Assistant Commissioner of Business Compliance, tipped the traders on the offline option of using EFRIS, when they don’t have access to the internet.

The three-day symposium that was held at the Ntare Gardens attracted over 50 companies and thousands of traders from across the country.

According to Mwijuka Simon Ssezi, the chairperson MBACITA, it is aimed at connecting businesses with government agencies like URA, the Uganda Registration Services Bureau, and the Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development, among others.

Ssezi asserts that it is essential for businesses to understand matters of taxation as they impact businesses. He noted that the symposium allows traders to access wider markets as it brings various businesses together.

“Traders get to showcase their brands and products, and network with fellow businesses. URA’s presence in this symposium enables businesses to learn best taxation practices, voluntarily pay tax, acquire, and also benefit from government programs,” said Ssezi as he highlighted the benefits of the symposium to the traders.

On the side-lines of the symposium, URA erected a tax hub that extended tax advisory services to the traders.

By Joshua Niyonshima

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