Reporting non-compliant tax payers will earn you Shs100m

A URA employee on duty. For reporting a non-compliant taxpayer and leading to recovery of unassessed tax, a whistle-blower will be paid Shs100m. PHOTO | FILE 

What you need to know:

  • Improving compliance. Payement of whistle- blowers is on of the  measures through which URA is seeking to improve tax compliance under the Tax Procedures Code (Amended) Act 2022.

Reporting or informing Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) of a non-complaint taxpayer will earn a whistle-blower Shs100m, according to the Tax Procedures Code (Amendment) Act, 2022. 

The Act, which also contains penalties for non-complainant taxpayers or those that falsify business information to undervalue tax obligations, indicates that URA or the commissioner for that case, shall pay any person who provides information leading to identification or recovery of unassessed tax.

Rewarding whistleblowers has been a long term measure that URA has been using to improve tax compliance. 

However, for the 2022/23 financial year, two reward categories, according to the Tax Procedures Code (Amendment) Act, have been instituted to reward whistleblowers that lead to identification of a non-compliant tax payer and a reward for those that lead to recovery of unassessed tax. 

According to the Act, a whistleblower that provides information leading to recovery of unassessed tax will be paid 5 percent of the recovered tax or Shs100m, whichever is less, while a person that provides information leading to identification of unassessed tax will be paid 1 percent of the assessed tax or Shs15m, whichever is less. 

URA has in the last 10 years deployed a number of measures, among which include technology and voluntary declaration of non-compliance, among others, to improve tax compliance. 

In the process, government is hoping to increase tax to gross domestic product, which for years has stagnated to under 12 percent. 

Mr Robert Wamala Lumanyika, the URA acting manager public and corporate affairs, yesterday told Daily Monitor, rewarding of whistleblowers seeks to enhance voluntary compliance, which in the process will help URA to collect government’s due share from non-compliant taxpayers. 

During the 2021/22 financial year, Mr Lumanyika said, more than 126 whistleblower cases were handled, from which more than Shs133.37b was assessed and recovered. 

The Tax Procedures Code (Amendment) Act also indicates that taxpayers who provide false or misleading information about their businesses will face a penalty of Shs110m, up from Shs4m. 

It is part of the larger pool of penalties that took effect on July 1 to improve compliance. 

Other penalties relate to offences committed against the Electronic Receipting and Invoicing System (EFRIS) and digital tax stamps, which now requires an offending taxpayer to pay 1,500 currency points or imprisonment not exceeding 10 years or both.  Each currency point translates into Shs20,000, meaning that such an offence committed under EFRIS and digital tax stamps will attract Shs30m. 

Offences against EFRIS and digital tax stamps include failure to fix or activate tax stamps, forgery of EFRIS invoices, interfering with EFRIS control devices, failure to use EFRIS, forgery of tax stamps and printing over or defacing tax stamps.

Another penalty of 2,500 currency points or Shs50m applies on a taxpayer who fails to file information relating to automatic exchange of information, maintain records for purposes of automatic exchange, making false or misleading statements in the information exchange and omission of a statement made in the information return.