Published: 18th November 2016
On 11th May 2016, the President returned the income tax amendment Bill rejecting to ascent to the Bill and the decision of Members Parliament to exempt themselves from paying income tax. The President recommitted to parliament clause 21(1) of the income tax bill which exempts employment income of MPs, except salary. The President shared that the amendment to clause 21 of the bill which doesn't promote good practice because it risks undermining the integrity of both the Courts and parliament. Adding that, the decision by the legislators to exempt themselves from paying income taxes on their allowances is not only injurious to revenue efforts, but is politically and morally incorrect.
On 15th November 2016, Parliament passed the income Tax (Amendment) Bill without any amendments sticking to their decision not to revise any amendments made by the President. It should be noted that the country is struggling to look for additional revenue (from domestic sources) to finance a number of key priorities in the National budget. Given the tremendous challenges the country is facing with high debt burden, MPs are supposed to lead by example and be trustees of the people’s interests. This move is a betrayal of this trust especially given the fact that other tax payers who earn less are taxed by Uganda Revenue Authority.
Every Ugandan is obligated to pay taxes irrespective of their position in society and there should not be a class of citizens who are exempted from payment of taxes. The tax burden should be shared fairly and Parliament should only develop a tax regime that applies to all citizens without discrimination
Uganda Debt Network (UDN) expresses her disappointment with Members of the 9th and 10th Parliament over their refusal to accept the amendments in the Income tax (Amendments) Bill, 2016, to exempt their benefits and allowances from being taxed.
- We call upon the MPs to rethink this move for the sake of the people and constituencies they represent. They should also be aware that this move will compromise their over sight role.
- We encourage the President of the Republic of Uganda to disassociate himself from this move by rejecting to assent to this Bill to save Ugandans billions of tax payer’s money.
- We further call upon all Development partners to prevail upon Government to ensure that Ugandans are not denied their rightful taxes that are crucial for Government to provide social services and infrastructure.