URA closes shops over tax arrears

By: WINNIE TABITHA KIBELEBELE

Kampala: Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has started an operation that will see them collect billions of shillings from city traders, most of whom are suspected to be perpetual tax evaders.

So far, they have issued tax assessment valued at more than Shs2 billion to more than 100 shops.

Last week, the tax collecting body closed S&G enterprises, an electronics shop, on Ben Kiwanuka Street over Shs1.1 billion tax arrears.

Goods confiscated

This was in addition to confiscating merchandise from several shops in the city centre, including closing Access Ltd, a printing and stationary shop located on Nkurumah Street for failure to remit over Shs116million in taxes.

According to URA, the company’s failure to respond to their persistent calls prompted the tax collector to swing into action—sealing off premises.

“The companies whose liability was screened from audit results, done for the period covering 2010-2013 remained unmoved to URA’s pleas to clear up their outstanding liability,” Mr Waiswa Abudu Salaam, the manager debt collection unit, said in an interview.

“After sealing off this shop, we advised the owner to turn up for negotiations, but he has not yielded to this offer,” he added.

According to Mr Waiswa, owners of the closed shops have less than 10 days to redeem their goods, failure of which will have them auctioned to help recover revenue owed to URA.

Among the merchandise confiscated were electric cables, fluorescent tubes, solar panels and batteries.

When contacted yesterday, Kampala City Traders Association chairman Everest Kayondo said he is not aware of the URA operations.

However, it emerged that there is an agreement with the tax body that each time they plan to stage an operation, they should warn the city trader’s leadership so that they can mobilise their members to comply.

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