URA issues new tax administration measures amidst COVID-19 crisis

URA Head Quarters Located at Nakawa - Kampala District. Photo: Courtesy of SoftPower
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As the whole world is on the panic of the deadly roaming virus – COVID-19 crisis, most of the economies are losing out on the performance rate due to the affected business transactional channels world-wide.

Fortebet Uganda COVID-19 crisis

In Uganda, the business sector also seriously affected after the government instituted tight measures to curb the spread of coronavirus.

URA in recognition of the current situation regarding the strange impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the business community and its services has established viable guidelines to allow taxpayers to meet their tax obligation.

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“It is essential that we all adhere to the guidelines issued by H.E. the President of the Republic of Uganda and the Ministry of Health to prevent the spread of the Virus.” The statement read in parts.

“To ensure the safety of our taxpayers and staff, we are making changes to the way we offer our services. Henceforth, the following measures of a tax administration nature have been instituted to support taxpayers in meeting their obligations.” The statement added.

The new tax administration guidelines will majorly focus on the points highlighted below.

Filing Returns

Taxpayers whose accounting date is in September and are unable to file Corporation Tax returns by 31st March, 2020 have been granted an extension to file returns. The new due date for filing has been extended by a period of two (2) months to May.2020. All penalties related to late submission of these returns shall be remitted if the returns are filed on or before 31st May, 2020.

Taxpayers whose returns for March, 2020 are due by the 15th of April 2020 and are unable to file are granted an extension to file. The new due date of filing is 30th April. 2020.This is in relation to the following tax types:

  • Value Added Tax (VAT)
  • Pay As You Earn (PAYE)
  • Local Excise Duty
  • Withholding Tax

Further, taxes under the Lotteries and Gaming Act c) Penalties for late filing of tax returns for February, 2020 that were due on 15th March, 2020. Shall be remitted if the returns are filed on or before 31st March, 2020. This is in relation to the following tax types:

  • Value Added Tax (VAT) 
  • Pay As You Earn (PAYE)
  • Local Excise Duty
  • Withholding Tax
  • Taxes under the Lotteries and Gaming Act

Payment of taxes under Instalment arrangements

Taxpayers who executed Memorandum of understanding (MOU) and who have payments due in the months of March and April 2020 will have the option to defer and reschedule these payments.

The terms of the MOU will accordingly be restructured for the payments to be resumed in May 2020.This provision will apply to taxpayers whose businesses have been affected by Government Directives on COVID-19 and who are unable to meet their obligations during the period.

The Taxpayers should however note that this is not a waiver or write off. The outstanding taxes will still be paid in full in accordance with the provisions of the law.

 Voluntary disclosure

A Taxpayer who makes any voluntary disclosure during the months of March and April 2020 and pays the principal tax therein, shall have their penalty and interest remitted in accordance with the law.

Border Stations

All Customs border stations shall remain open to facilitate movement of cargo subject to the Customs laws and guidelines

Customs Warehouses

All Customs warehouses will remain functional to allow clearance of cargo subject to the Customs Guidelines.

URA has encouraged all the clients to make use of their online services and consult physically for the services that cannot be accessed online.

In addition, for those that will be making payments, URA advises that you use one of the following mentioned option; Online banking/EFT/RTGS, Agency banking, VISA/MasterCard for Stanbic Bank, ABSA and UBA, PayWay services across the country and Mobile money (MTN and Airtel).

Uganda can’t by the time of writing anticipate the positive change in the situation and when the reopening of the businesses and other services will occur. The lockdown may or not continue depending on the occurrence of the virus cases and the measures the Ministry of Health will find appropriate to control and manage the situation more effectively.

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