TAT launches Users’ Forum to improve efficiency

The Tax Appeals Tribunal (TAT) has launched a Users’ Forum geared towards accelerating the resolution of disputes between the taxman and the taxpayer.

Speaking at the Tuesday launch at the Golden Tulip Hotel in Kampala, Catherine Donovan Kyokunda, the Commissioner of Legal Services and Board Affairs at the Uganda Revenue Authority, recognized the role of the tribunal in the adjudication of tax matters. She noted that the launch of the forum is a good strategy for the disposal of case backlogs and will facilitate both revenue collection and business.

Kyokunda also recognized TAT’s adoption of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).

“We recognize TAT’s reliance on and adoption of ADR through mediation, which has expedited the disposal of cases. 70% of cases are settled through mediation, and that’s quite key because going through the court system is indeed costly on all sides,” she stated.

She committed to establishing a system that allows for disputes to be resolved fairly, equitably, and expeditiously to support both taxpayers and URA.

“I would personally be interested in hold-ups, so if you have any instances of such matters, please do alert me, for there shouldn’t be any hold-ups as far as I’m concerned.”

TAT Chairperson Crystal Kabajwara laid down proposals to improve the tribunal’s operations.

“We propose to improve systems, processes, conduct, and how the different respondents and the applicants engage with each other. In summary, the objective of our proposals is to ensure that we clear the backlog of cases,” she highlighted.

She called on URA to improve its internal procedures for approvals, saying delays in approvals are contributing to the backlog.

“This is specifically for the URA. Several matters come up, and we are told that the consent judgment is undergoing approval. So, I’d like to request that your internal procedures be tightened because this is contributing to the backlog.”

Launching the Forum, Susan Nakagolo, a Principal Economist at the Ministry of Finance, emphasized that the tribunal is independent and is expected to unlock tax revenue for the government and working capital for businesses, both of which are important for stimulating economic growth and national development.

Meanwhile, it was noted that about 250 cases are pending before the tribunal with a value of about UGX 700 billion.

By Kamugisha Kabahweza Allan

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