38% of Ugandans pay for TIN numbers

A Uganda Revenue Authority official reviews documents for a Tax Identification Number. PHOTO/FILE

KAMPALA. 38 percent of Ugandans who tried to register for or update a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) have been charged according to a new report.

This information is contained in a report of a national study done by a non-governmental organisation Twaweza, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and Tax Justice Alliance Uganda

Taxpayer Identification Number in Uganda is a unique identifying number assigned to every taxpayer by Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) for tax administration purposes.

Any person who is likely to transact in any tax related business with URA, shall be required to apply for a TIN. The TIN is therefore an administrative requirement and applies to all taxpayers regardless of the tax transaction.

Correspondences with URA, management of your account on the URA web portal, filing VAT refunds, payments of tax and non-tax revenue, for customs transactions imports and exports and to interface with other clients.

The report shows that 14 percent of those who tried to register or update a TIN said they paid a bribe to a Uganda Revenue Authority officer.

“14 percent reported bribing a URA officer, 11 percent reported bribing a consultant or tax agent to assist, 6 percent for processing TIN, 6 percent said paid transport bribe for someone to URA office and 5 percent bribing internet café owners,” the report shows.

However, a small number of citizens - 4 percent - report having tried to register or update a TIN in the previous two years.

Mr Robert Wamala, URA’s manager public corporate affairs said in January, they rolled out free registration of TIN numbers where one registers online and gets a TIN within five minutes.

“One of the reasons we introduced the online TIN number acquisition was to eliminate middle men and face to face meetings with our staff to get rid of corruption,” he said.