Court throws out mobile money case against URA

Monday February 18 2019

New tax measures. Government has introduced

New tax measures. Government has introduced some new tax measures such as mobile money tax from which it hopes to increase tax revenue. PHOTO BY ABUBAKER LUBOWA 


Kampala. The High Court in Kampala has thrown out a case that was challenging Uganda Revenue Authority’s (URA) decision to tax mobile money deposits by 1 per cent.

While throwing out the tax case, Justice Musa Ssekaana said by the time the petitioners, Mr John Robert Turyakira and Mr Anthony Odur filed the law suit, the URA Commissioner General, Ms Doris Akol, had directed the telecom companies to stop collecting the tax.

“The present application was filed by applicants on the 12th day of July 2018 and by the said date, the Commissioner General had already written a clarification in her letter dated July 4, 2018 to all internet service providers and telecommunication firms that no tax should be charged on the deposits,” Justice Ssekaana said in his February 8 ruling.

“The applicants attached this letter to their application, which implies that they were fully aware of the changed circumstances and non-applicability of the 1 per cent on the cash deposits and transfers from the bank to the mobile money account,” the judge added.
Justice Ssekaana wondered whether the petitioners filed the case just to gain popularity since it had been overtaken by events.

“The present application falls in the mootness doctrine, which bars court from deciding moot cases; that is a case in which there is no longer any actual controversy. In the result, I find this application to be lacking merit and overtaken by events and its hereby dismissed,” the judge concluded.
He ordered each party to bear its costs of the case.