Government to tax bet winners, regulate rent for tenants

Sunday April 09 2017
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A group of youth gather at a sports betting centre in Arua to look at match fixtures. PHOTO BY FELIX WAROM OKELLO

Kampala. Should proposed amendments to the Income Tax Act cap 340 become law, then winners in betting games will have to pay a 15 per cent withholding tax on their fortune.
Landlords, too, will have to fold their hands as rent shall be estimated by the minister of Finance through a statutory instrument.

A March 30 gazetted Bill seen by Daily Monitor seeks to amend Section 5 by creating sub section 4) to read “For the purposes of assessing rental tax under this section, the minister shall, by statutory instrument, prescribe estimates of rent based on the rating of the rental property in a specified location.”
It is intended to “empower the minister to issue estimates of rent for the purposes of assessing rental tax.”
Winners in betting halls will have to pay tax, if the proposed amendment to Section 118C is passed by Parliament.

It is proposed: “A person who makes payments for winnings of sports betting or pool betting shall withhold tax on the gross amount of the payment, at the rate prescribed in Part X of the Third Schedule to this Act.”
The third schedule proposes the prescribed rate; “the withholding tax rate applicable to winnings from sports betting and pool betting is 15 per cent.”
A soothe is also thrown at betting individuals through a separate amendment of the Lotteries and Gaming Act, 2016, to “reduce the rate of gaming tax from 35 per cent to 20 per cent.”
The Bill seeks to provide for the “exemption from payment of income tax on income accrued by a body established by an Act of Parliament to regulate the conduct of professionals.”

The exemption will benefit professional bodies such as the Uganda Law Society and other bodies created to regulate the conduct of professionals through an Act of Parliament. For employees who use motor vehicles extended to them by way of benefit from employers, the Bill proposes a new tax formula that factors in a 35 per cent per annum depreciation on the value of the vehicle.
This is sought through an amendment to Paragraph 3 of the Fifth Schedule to read which seeks to amend the taxation formula to include “the market value of the motor vehicle at the time when it was first provided for the private use by the employee, depreciated on a reducing balance basis at a rate of 35 per cent per annum for the subsequent years.”

Tax exemption
Bujagali Hydro Power Project will in the event of the approval of the amendments benefit from a proposed income tax exemption lasting 16 years.
If passed by Parliament, Section 21 will “provide for the exemption from tax of the income of Bujagali Hydro Power Project up to the year 2033.”
The amendments are intended to take effect by July.

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