Property owners ask URA to drop taxes accrued  during Covid-19  

Property owners say they cannot be asked to pay taxes for a period during which they were not earning. Photo / Micheal Kakumirizi 

What you need to know:

  • Property owners says taxes accrued during the two-year lock down had been waived through a Presidential directive

Property owners in Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area have asked Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) not to charge property rates and rental taxes accrued due to the two-years of Covid-19 related lock downs. 

In a meeting organised by URA, property owners said the accrued taxes during the two-year lock down had been waived through a Presidential directive, which they said, had asked them not to evict tenants who were not paying rent. Property rates are charged on properties that have a commercial element. 

However, property owners also indicated that it would be unfair for URA to charge them rental tax accrued during the same period. Property rates are payable to local governments, while rental tax is payable to URA. 

Speaking during a tax engagement with land and property owners in Kampala Central, Makindye, Rubaga, Kawempe, Nakawa and parts of Entebbe, Mukono, Kira, Nansana and Wakiso, Mr Paul Mukasa, who represented land lords from Busega in Lubaga Division, said during the two-year lockdown, President Museveni had told landlords not to evict tenants from their houses because of not paying rent. 

“How comes right now URA and KCCA are coming to collect taxes for the period that President Museveni said we should not evict tenants. We were not getting money,” he said, noting that they cannot dig down into their pockets to pay taxes for money that was never earned.

Mr Mukasa also indicated that URA was threatening some property owners with notices that indicate that their properties will be attached if they fail to pay the taxes. 

“We are willing to pay rental and property taxes that are due for payment after opening up of the economy. But it is unfair to charge us for a period that many of us were not earning,” he said. 

Similarly, Mr Ismail Byekwaso, a property manager with Senana, said URA should soften its way of handling taxpayers, avoid issuing urgency notices and closing their bank accounts.

“They should listen to us because. Closing our bank accounts makes it hard for a taxpayer,” he said. 

Avenue for correction

However, during the meeting, Mr John Musinguzi, the URA commissioner general, said they had invited property owners to listen to their side of story, noting that there was need to build a relationship with taxpayers, noting that avenues for correction and improvement will be found.