In its maiden vetting meeting, the Tax Agents Registration Committee (TARC) formed mid this year has approved 289 tax agents that will guide and represent taxpayers on domestic taxes for a period of one-year, effective January 2018.
The agents will act as official intermediaries between the taxpayers and the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA). At the same time, in regard to customs, licensed clearing agents to interact with URA on taxpayers’ behalf.
The successful agents were selected out of a total of 316 applicants, who expressed interest as individual, companies or partnerships.
Of the 289 applicants, 119 are individuals including their nominees, while 170 are non-individual -companies or partnerships, including their nominees.
During the selection process held at the URA headquarters in Kampala, Committee Chairperson, Doris Akol applauded the applicants’ interest in managing clients’ tax affairs.
“This is a key milestone for us and a stepping stone in professionalizing this field,” she stated amid the vetting meeting,” she said.
According to Akol, failure to effectively communicate with taxpayers made the agents vetting and committee inevitable.
“One of the biggest persistent setbacks to delivery of excellent revenue services was the information gap between the institution and taxpayers,” Akol said, adding that had given chance to some unregulated tax agents misrepresent taxpayers and defraud them of huge sums of money.
“And in spite of continued taxpayer education, fraudsters posing as tax agents continued to cheat the public,” she said.
Other members on the Committee are Derick Nkajja from the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU); Godfrey Akena, from the Uganda Law Society; Annet Nakawunde Mulindwa, the Managing Director of Finance Trust Bank and Feddy Bahikirwe Mwerinde, a tax consultant from the Private Sector.
The Tax Procedures Code Act 2014 (TPCA) provides for tax agents. It describes them as people involved in; in the preparation, certification, and filing tax returns, information returns or other statements or reports required by URA, the preparation of requests for ruling, petitions for reinvestigation, protests, objections, requests for refund or tax certificates, compromise settlements and/or abatement of tax liabilities and other official papers and correspondences with URA.
They can also attend in meetings and hearings on behalf of the taxpayer in all matters relating to a taxpayer rights, privileges or liabilities under the laws or regulations administered by URA.
As the practice of using tax agents becomes entrenched, it is expected that all taxpayers should use the services of a registered agent.