URA asks Maracha to pay Shs90 million tax arrears

By: ROBERT ATIKU

MARACHA: Maracha District council is under pressure to clear Shs90 million in accumulated tax arrears to Uganda Revenue Authority.

The money reportedly accumulated after the district’s interim council defaulted on a 30 per cent monthly payment of council remuneration.

The other arrears are reported to have accrued from failure by contractors to pay the 6 per cent withholding tax after they took on projects in the district during the time the district was under the leadership of the interim council.

The district council finance secretary, Mr Emmanuel Wani, said the taxes accrued between July 2010 and June 2011, when Maracha was under interim council.

Exempted councillors

According to Mr Wani, the interim council which had been instituted at the time agreed to exempt councillor from paying taxes given the low payment.

A district councilor is entitled to a monthly pay of more than Shs500,000 which is taxed by URA.

However, some councillors blame the former chief administrative officer for failure to give technical advice in regard to the financial implications of the exemption.

“The district accounting officers have a role to advice council on decisions taken but I wonder what they were doing when the interim council chose to exempt councillors from paying the tax,” Mr Wilson Onyinda, a youth councillor, wondered.

Mr Dansan Mukasa the current district CAO advised that the money should be cleared in order to save freezing of district accounts by the tax body.

“We should save the district accounts from being frozen over failure to pay these accumulated arrears, it will have implications on service delivery,” he said.

URA has reportedly written to the district to remind them of the need to clear the accrued tax arrears, lest they risk paying additional interests.

Councilors were deeply divided over the tax matter with those who never served in interim regime refusing to approve funds for clearing the tax arrears.

Source: Daily Monitor

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