The Government has blocked Uganda Revenue Authority (URA)’s directive to banks to release all their customers’ account details to the tax body.
The decision to stop URA’s move was taken at a Cabinet Meeting held On Monday 9th April, 2018 at State House Entebbe. The meeting was chaired by President Yoweri Museveni.
In a statement issued Tuesday by Frank K. Tumwebaze, Minister of ICT & National Guidance, who is also the Cabinet Spokesperson, Cabinet discussed and noted the concerns that have been expressed by various stakeholders and the public regarding the demand by URA to access the personal accounts of all clients of Commercial Banks.
“Cabinet discussed the matter and with guidance of the Attorney General, recognized that while URA has the Legal mandate to access any person’s bank account for purposes of tax audit and assessment, it should not be a blanket and general application to all people including those who are complying well and paying their taxes,” the statement read in part.
It added: “URA should target accounts of individuals who are a subject of their tax investigation as has been the practice. URA was also advised to work and coordinate with the Financial Intelligence Authority-another government statutory body mandated to monitor all financial inflows without having to interfere with the business of banks.”
Tumwebaze said the Minister of Finance was accordingly directed to advise URA to drop its intentions of demanding for omnibus disclosure of people’s accounts from banks as this would cause unnecessary litigations and some turbulence in the banking sector and thus affect the economy.