MinBane

I write what I like.

The Amendment of the Income Tax Act in Uganda; is the first out of many freedoms that the Members of Parliament have given themselves

Uganda Parliament Museveni

It’s been hectic around the Amendment for the Income Tax that has opened the possibility for Members of Parliament and the ones on Diplomatic Missions to not be paying the Income Tax in Uganda. There been an outrage on Social Media, therefore I started to look into it. First will I add the specific amendment that was voted in Parliament now in April 2016, that’s give’s the Members of Parliament no Income Tax, because older laws already gives them Immunity. Certainly this is gift basket to the coming 10th Parliament, as the 9th Parliament gives a tax-break to themselves, as they already have certain obligations and other services provided by law; and that is not so strange they are the makers of laws, so they have made laws that fits them and gives them advantages.

Uganda Shillings

Orignal Law before the Amendment:

93. Cases where returns of income not required

Unless requested by the Commissioner by notice in writing, no return of income shall be

furnished under this Act for a year of income-

(a) by a nonresident person where subsection (4) of section 4 or paragraph (c) of

section 87 or both apply to all the income derived from sources in Uganda by

the person during the year of income; or (effective 1st July, 2001- Income Tax

(Amendment) Act, 2002)

(b) by a resident individual-

(i) to whom section 4 (4) applies; or (effective 1st July, 2001- Income Tax

(Amendment) Act, 2002)

(ii) whose total chargeable income for the year of income is subject to the

zero rate of tax under Part I of the Third Schedule to this Act!” (The Income Tax Act, 1st July, 1997)

Ugandan shillings

Here is the what the Amendment of 2016 does to this section:

“Unless requested by the Commissioner by notice in writing, no return of income shall be

furnished under this Act for a year of income-

(a) by a nonresident person where subsection (4) of section 4 or paragraph (c) of

section 87 or both apply to all the income derived from sources in Uganda by

the person during the year of income; or (effective 1st July, 2001- Income Tax

(Amendment) Act, 2002)

(b) by a resident individual-

(i) to whom section 4(4) applies, except persons employed by diplomatic missions and prescribed organisations on which diplomatic immunities and privileges are conferred;”. (effective 1st July 2016 – Income Tax (Amendment) Act 2016)

(ii) whose total chargeable income for the year of income is subject to the

zero rate of tax under Part I of the Third Schedule to this Act!”

So with the important Amendment to the Tax law tha set the standard for the Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges. They are no except from the Income Tax. That means that the Income or Pay that they are getting so not taxed or their salary is now Tax-Free.

Uganda-parliament-2

And as this complies with Scetion 4 (4) here is what that says:

“4. Income tax imposed:

(4) Where the gross income of a taxpayer for a year of income consists exclusively of

employment income derived from a single employer from which tax has been withheld as

required under section 116, the income tax payable by the taxpayer for the year of income

is the amount equal to the sum of the amounts required to be withheld from such income

under section 116” (The Income Tax Act, 1st July, 1997).

So just to take the last piece of law to put this all together and give meaning while it have created a fuzz and been question what this part of law means that people with Diplomatic Immunity get exception from Income Tax. Even if the Third Part of Law says that people who lives most of the days in Uganda have to pay Income in Uganda, but with this new text to the law, that certain people are exempt and doesn’t have to cough-up the money.

This is what the Parliament (Power and Privileges) Act of 1955 of 24th February 1955 say this in the act:

“2. Immunity from legal proceedings.

No civil or criminal proceedings may be instituted against any member for words spoken before, or written in a report to, Parliament or to a committee, or by reason of any matter or thing brought by the member in Parliament or a committee by petition, bill, motion or otherwise” ( Parliament (Powers and Privileges) Act 1955).

Internal Memo Uganda Parliament 2013

And lets not forget this act to called Parliament (Remuneration of Members) Act 1981, that is still active and give certain benefits the Members of Parliament. It came into effect on 1st July 1981 and is still active and this is what it says:

“4. Regulations:

“amenities” includes housing, transport, medical attention, domestic servants, security guards and secretarial services;

“Minister” means the Minister responsible for public service and Cabinet affairs”, (Parliament (Remuneration of Members) Act 1981).

So they have no cut the Income Tax because the Parliament Law of 1955 gives the Immunity and therefore are they under the provision of the exemption. That is not surprising, but that is a fact. So it is clear that the end of 9th Parliament will be self-serving an in their own interest and not for any common-good for the people.  And the ability of still having colonial laws that are active and not terminated is a little profound for me. As the NRM Regime have tried to rewrite everything, but seems that certain relics of the past is a good thing, if it gives them more power or ability to harass the opposition or control fellow peers. The Immunity of Members of Parliament together with Amenities and now the exception of Income Tax proves the levels of positive acts that are made for MPs to be able to paid salaries and amenties without paying Income Tax. That is astonishing and questionable. That the Minister of Parliament can get funding for housing, transport, medical attention, servants, securities and sectorial services without paying Income Tax on the Salary that are getting. With the benefit of Immunity!

So some laws from the Colonial Past and one law made by Obote II gives an edge together with the new amendment of a law made two years after the “Museveni Constitution” of 1995. Certainly there some ironies that the Members of Parliament are getting funded amenities under the NRM Regime because of President Obote and his UNLA and UPC fixed it 5 years before NRA overthrow them. But that is just me.

The levels of self-serving is just continuing the traditions in the Ugandan Parliament. This is all the way from 1955 to 2016. It might be 50 years apart, still the same mentality is there and the men of power wish to extent their power, if it is immunity, impunity or exception from taxes. The same powers and same common greed is there. As showed in the laws that inflicts the Cabinet and the Members of Parliament. Peace.  

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