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URA unveils Voluntary Disclosure Program to fight tax evasion on offshore assets

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The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has unveiled the Voluntary Disclosure Program, a tool for taxpayers to report their foreign accounting and offshore assets.

The event was officiated by the Deputy Secretary to the Treasury, Patrick Ochailap.

Speaking at the launch on Thursday, URA Commissioner General John R. Musinguzi said the tool is part of URA’s commitment to the Automatic Exchange of Information, fight illicit financial flows, and support taxpayers to meet tax obligations.

“Our dear taxpayers and valued clients, as the world becomes increasingly globalized and cross-border activities become the norm, tax administrations have agreed to work together to ensure that taxpayers pay the right amount of tax to the right jurisdiction,” he said.

“The AEOI is a platform that enhances co-operation between tax authorities and brings national tax administration in line with the globalized economy. AEOI promotes transparency and deters offshore tax evasion by allowing countries to exchange financial information automatically and securely,” he added.

Commissioner Domestic Taxes Sarah M. Chelangat shared the benefits of the program.

“As Uganda, we’re interested in ensuring that whether you’re in Uganda or not, Uganda must get her fair share of taxes. So, if you’re here in Uganda for more than 183 days we should be able to tax you or even give you a credit due unto you,” she said.

“This AEOI-VD program is about levelling the ground and ensuring that there’s equity for all taxpayers. If you embrace Voluntary Disclosure you most definitely save yourself from penalties, reputation risk,” she added.

Alex Byaruhanga, a representative from the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, said the Automatic Exchange of Information- Voluntary Disclosure Program (AEOI-VD) is a strategy to ensure that all taxpayers pay their fair share of tax at the right time and place.

“Secondly, it will ensure a much-widened tax base which means more revenue which in turn translates into better service delivery. The AEOI- VD Program will also help tax authorities to investigate and identify non-compliant taxpayers and also furnish policy makers with statistics to guide policy formulation,” he said.

“Consequently, the program will also support us in fighting crimes like money laundering,” he added.

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