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Luwero Landlords Protest New Property Tax Rates

Landlords in Luwero town council are up arms against the proposed property rates. Recently the Ministry of Local Government and Luwero town council started assessing commercial buildings to determine new property rates.

According to the valuation roll, the property rates have increased by 8 to10 times, which has sparked protests from landlords and local leaders. Charles Bisaso, a landlord along Kiwoko road, says that he has been paying Shillings 80,000 annually in property rates.

He, however, says that tax has more than doubled to Shillings 630,000 after the assessment, which is abnormal. Bisaso says currently tenants are not paying well due to the lockdown effect, adding that it was wrong to base the valuation on assumptions rather than actual collections.

Michael Ssewanyaga, a landlord in Lumu zone, says that he was paying Shillings 60,000 but was shocked to see the tax revised to Shillings 480,000. Ssewanyaga says that he has turned his commercial premises into residential premises after failing to get tenants.

Namugera Nkokonyole, another landlord in Kakookolo zone, says that he has been paying Shillings 150,000 but the new assessment has placed him at Shillings 1.2million, which is unacceptable.

He says that they will not pay the property rates until the fees are revised. Kisekka Ssaka, the LC 1 Chairman of Lumu zone, says that several houses are vacant whereas other landlords are embroiled in conflicts with tenants over rental arrears.

Kisekka has asked the town council to review the taxes because the valuation may encourage tax evasion and increased rental fees. LC 1 Chairmen say commercial houses go for between Shillings 100,000 and 300,000 per room in Luwero town council.

According to authorities in Luwero town, the property tax rates are within six percent of the annual rental income as recommended in Local government (rating) regulations 2006. But Chris Johns Buwembo, the LC 111 Chairman of Luwero town council, says that the valuation exercise is still ongoing and asked the affected landlords to appeal to the town clerk for consideration.

Property rate is a tax on all immovable property or buildings, commercially managed like schools, rented houses, rented shops, factories, Hotels, Private and Public Universities and any part of which is used for the purpose of business even if it is owner-occupied. Property rates are among the major sources of taxes in the local governments.

According to the draft budget of Luwero town council, the town expects to collect Shillings 1.4 billion in local tax in the financial year 2022/23. However, estimates from the revised property rates are not yet captured in the budget..


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