KAMPALA – The Commissioner General URA -John Rujoki Musinguzi honored an invitation to Ndejje University on Friday morning by Professor Eriabu Lugujjo owing to an ongoing partnership designed to nurture a tax alert generation through a resident tax society.
Tax societies are student-centred associations found in private and public Universities of Uganda working in partnership with Uganda Revenue Authority to nurture and empower youths and communities with information over tax matters with the aim to promote a taxpaying culture through an engaged citizenry. Currently, there are 19 tax societies.
Born 5 years ago, the tax society in Ndejje has been active in carrying out tax education, mobilisation and sensitization through communal outreach, teaching locals in the market place how to register for Tax Identification numbers (TIN), filing returns and financial literacy programmes like book keeping.
The Commissioner General said that this kind of sensitization is vital given the 52% informal sector which consists of Ugandans actively engaged in business, without proper records.
“52% is more than half of the Ugandan business entities and individuals. Thank you for the collaboration to educate them. They don’t know how much they make and don’t know how much should be of tax. Formality will benefit them and benefit the nation,” he said.
Uganda’s tax to GDP ratio is currently at 12.1%. The average tax to GDP ratio in sub-Saharan Africa is at 16% making Uganda lie below the average. With only 1.7M Ugandans registered taxpayers out of a goring 45.7M Ugandans, the Commissioner General called upon the tax society to continue collaborating with URA to help change these statistics for the better.
The President of the Ndejje Tax society-Steven Kalifuba, revealed that his team has also carried out the Volunteers Income Tax Assistant (VITA) programme where up to 100 students have been skilled in TIN registration, return Filing ad trained in the Electronic E-receipting and Invoicing solution(EFRIS).
“Ndejje University tax society is a great pillar in nurturing a tax alert generation towards future tax compliances. VITA will benefit many students. Every year 3rd year students can have a training on URA processes since it part of the curriculum,” he said.
Tax Education has already been introduced in the primary and secondary syllabi. Even at the university, some courses teach about taxes. CG said that with better information, students will be prepared to contribute their fair share of tax and pass on tax education. He revealed that URA is currently in talks with the national council of higher education, to incorporate tax in the programmes at the university.
“Every university course should contain a taxation unit, teaching basic concepts on taxation, the importance of paying taxes and how to calculate and pay taxes,” he said.
Since 2017, the 19 tax societies have registered 2457 active members, directly benefitting 4703 people through their activities. the tax societies which consist of undergraduate students, have mainly coordinated discussions over fiscal issues through debates. So far 23 tax debates have been held.