By Namugerwa Martha
City arcade traders have asked Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to investigate circumstances under which clearing agents charge them big sums of money for clearing their consignment and paying taxes.
Clearing agents act for and on behalf of the tax payer in the clearing of goods and in doing so, they receive goods from the latter and declare them to the customs.
Godfrey Katongole the chairperson of Kampala Arcade Traders Association (KATA) said that majority of clearing agents who offer to pay taxes and clearing fees on behalf of traders tend to demand a lot of money from them.
“Many traders pay a lot of money in taxes and clearing fees through clearing agents because they don’t know what they are actually supposed to pay and at times they are never given receipts,” Katongole said.
However, URA spokesperson Vincent Seruma said that URA gives licenses to clearing agents and traders have a choice on who to deal with to have their consignments cleared.
“The problem is that taxpayers give agents money to clear and pay taxes, they may never know how much tax was paid because they are never involved. With this suspicion, they are never satisfied, thinking that the agents inflated the tax fees and I think that’s where the problem is,” Seruma said.
He added that what he knows is that clearing fees ranges from Shs300,000 and Shs500,000 depending on the size of the container.
“You should organize yourselves and come to our offices so that we teach them how to pay taxes,” Seruma added.
Seruma further urged the traders to seek help from URA on how to pay taxes and also engage and participate in their ongoing door to door campaign of teaching people about taxes and how to pay them.