Justice Owiny-Dollo: Emulate tax appeal tribunal success

Friday November 29 2019

View. Deputy Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo

View. Deputy Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo during a criminal session of the Court of Appeal at Mbarara High Court in 2018.He has advised judicial officers to emulate the approach applied by officials of the Tax Appeals Tribunal (TAT) while handling tax disputes. PHOTO BY FELIX AINEBYOONA 

By Arthur Arnold Wadero

Deputy Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo has advised judicial officers to emulate the approach applied by officials of the Tax Appeals Tribunal (TAT) while handling tax disputes.

Justice Dollo lauded TAT for continuously delivering on their mandate despite the short time within which they have to handle a dispute before it is deemed a backlog.
“If the matter is not disposed of in less than six months, it becomes backlog. We are behind as the Judiciary compared to the TAT.

For us [Judiciary], we take two years for the matter to be declared a backlog,” Justice Dollo said during the release of the first comprehensive Uganda Law Tax Report of 2008 to 2011 period at Hotel Protea in Kampala on Wednesday.

“Despite the complexity of tax matters, the tribunal has continued to efficiently handle most of the matters brought before it in a professional manner. We all know that tax matters are very sensitive to taxpayers and therefore members handling them should uphold principles and ensure they are impartially dealt with,” he added.

The chairperson of TAT, Dr Asa Mugenyi, said there has been a decline in performance as the disposal rate dropped from 90 per cent to 80 per cent in the last two years.

“All the matters are now coming to the Tax Appeals Tribunal. Every other week, we get about two to three being filed,” Dr Mugenyi revealed.
“So with the increase of cases, the percentage [of disposal] drops. That is why we need this tax law report to quicken the disposal of matters,” he added.

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The report
Section 19(8) of the TAT Act, 1997, requires that the tribunal publishes its decisions, something that was initially done through compendiums. This, however, were not comprehensive and thus the TAT decided to publish the tax law report.

Published at the Law Development Centre with support from the Justice, Law and Order Sector and the Ministry of Finance, the Uganda Tax Law Report of 2008 to 2011 comes off as the first copy that TAT has released.

Tax Appeals Tribunal

Establishment. The Tribunal was created in 1997 under an Act of Parliament as an impartial body tasked to handle tax disputes that emanate from Uganda Revenue Authority. The tribunal has since registered 597 cases, disposed of 484 (81 per cent) and has about 113 cases pending.

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