Private schools should pay Income tax

While private schools and all of us in the service sector deliver services to personal and corporate citizens, we do so with the primary objective of making profits.

These profits are determined by keeping proper accounting records which at the end of the year, are used to prepare the income and expenditure statement which will show whether the business made a profit or a loss.

If profit was made then this is what is taxed by government and not URA who is just a tax collector on behalf of government at 30 per cent and the rest of the 70 per cent is left with the owners of the business to reinvest.

If a loss is made, no tax will be charged but that loss will be carried forward to be offset against future profits before the tax liability is determined.

The government needs this money so it can pay security personnel, medical workers because they are at the front line of securing our lives and providing vital services and public infrastructure such as roads, railways to enable us engage in productive activities.

I have visited a number of private primary and secondary schools in Mukono and Kayunga districts and my preliminary assessment is that most school proprietors have a lot of unfounded fear about taxation.

In addition, there are some private schools that are really struggling to provide education to vulnerable children in our communities and those where parents pay fees as low as Shs50,000 per term in installments.

Surely such schools should be identified and exempted from income tax. But in private schools where the parents (and I am such a parent) are paying school fees of up to Shs1 million per term on tuition and boarding in addition to buying requirements such as reams of paper, bags of cement, toilet papers, etc and paying separate dues for transporting children in the school buses, these schools should keep proper books of accounts, be audited by a certified public accountant and tax returns made to URA.

I believe the fear expressed by proprietors of private schools to the President is because they do not want the financial affairs of their businesses to be examined by an independent auditor and to pay taxes on the profits they are making.

I can only aise private school investors that audit, profit measurement and tax compliance is good for the growth of their business and the development of our country which we should all be proud to contribute to.
John Opeduru,
opeduru@gmail.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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