Banks under their umbrella body Uganda Bankers Association (UBA) have rejected Uganda Revenue Authority (URA)’s directive to have them release all account details of their customers, arguing that it is unlawful.
In a press statement dated April8, 2018 signed by Fabian Kasi, the UBA Chairman and Wilbrod Humphreys Owor, UBA Executive Director, banks say the request for information contained in URA letters dated 16th March 2018, 19th March 2018 and 29th March 2018 raises a number of legal issues concerning constitutionally protected fundamental rights which could expose the member financial institutions to legal liability.
“Member financial institutions are equally concerned about possible wider impact of this request for information and the potential unintended consequences it may trigger,” banks say, adding that they are currently in consultations with various line authorities, industry and financial sector shareholders, including Bank of Uganda and URA itself to address the matter.
“The UBA members also reached a decision on Friday 6th April 2018 to file a Petition in the Constitutional Court contesting the constitutionality of the previous provisions of the tax law relied on by URA in their Notice,” UBA members say.
URA wants account details of banks customers basing on Section 42 of the Tax Procedures Act 2014.
The information URA wants include account name, Tax Identification Number (TIN), National Identification Number (NIN), Address, Telephone number and email address.
Others are; total cash deposits into that account for 2016 and 2017, total cash withdrawals from that account for the same period and the current balance on that account as of today.
In a related development, Ugandans in the Diaspora under the Common League of the Uganda Diaspora have also protested URA’s directive, describing it as an ‘embarrassing development.”
In a press statement dated April7, 2018, Ugandans in Diaspora say: “the URA request is technically preposterous, indication of perverted managerial creativity and awkward imagination.”