Uganda Revenue Authority [URA] Commissioner General Doris Akol has proposed the withdrawal of Over the Top Taxes [OTT] on internet users.
Akol Tuesday led her delegation and appeared before the Parliamentary Committee on Finance to present the Budget Framework Paper for the FY 2020/21.
In her presentation, she said the Net Cumulative Revenue from July – December grew at 11.21% (from UGX 8,134.96 Billion to UGX 9,042.01 Billion) FY 2019/20.
She proposed for the amendment of Schedule 2 part 1 of the Excise duty Act in respect of the excisable goods and services to provide for mobile data.
She says that this would counteract the effects of OTT evasion and will call for its withdrawal.
Akol further proposed for the amendment the Tax Procedure Act to allow for instalment payment of taxes over a financial year period.
She says that this would ease tax payments and revenue mobilisation.
She proposed for the abolishment of some non-tax charges on some Government services like verifying land titles, renewing passports, driving permits among others.
She says that this would address the tax morale issue in Uganda.
She proposed for the withdrawal of the OTT policy given its rate of evasion and non-performance.
She proposed for the selective provision of incentives to investments whose social and economic benefits are significant.
She says that this will reduce unnecessary incentives and exemptions since they contribute to narrowing the tax base.
Parliament in June 2018, introduced a Shs200 tax levy on all telecom subscribers accessing social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp, etc.
Museveni specifically said social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Skype and Viber were being used for propagating falsehoods and that for Ugandans to access the sites for what he called Lugambo, they should pay for them.
Government had hoped to generate between Shs400 billion and Shs1.4 trillion from the social media tax annually.
Uganda Communications Commission [UCC], confessed the tax reduced the number of Internet users by three million in the first three months of implementation.
UCC data also shows that collection volumes, in shillings value, have been reducing mainly due to Internet users cutting back on the amount they spend or use of bypass alternatives such as Virtual Private Networks (VPN) to avoid paying the tax.