Uganda

Corporate - Significant developments

Last reviewed - 05 September 2022

Amendments for the Financial Year 2022/23

Income Tax

Effective 1 July 2022, the following changes were made through the Income Tax (Amendment) Act 2022:

  • Amendment of the definition of a beneficial owner again ( after changes in 2019 and 2021) to include a natural person who ultimately owns or controls a customer and further defines who a beneficial owner is in relation a legal person
  • Amendment of the definition of an exempt organisation to include a non profit research institution
  • Extension of the income tax exemption period for Bujagali Hydro Power Project by one year to 30 June 2023
  • The list of listed institutions exempt from income tax was expanded to add  the International Development Law Organisation and replace the  former name Department for International Development (DFID) with Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) 

Revocation of the 2021 Amendment that allowed a standard deduction of 75% of the gross rental income derived by both individuals and entities. The new applicable rules and rates for individuals, non-individuals and partnerships are as follows:

  • The deduction of expenses is capped at 50% of gross rent for companies and non individuals excluding partnerships. Any excess expenditures and losses are not eligible for carrying forward
  • For individuals,the prior deduction for mortgage interest has been repealed and no expenses can be deducted.
  • In addition for individuals, the annual rental income in excess of UGX 2,820,000 is subject to a flat tax rate of 12%. No tax is applicable to rental income less than UGX 2.82 million
  • For partnerships, the rental income and expenditures derived are allocated to each partner based on their respective partnership share

Amendment for clarification to a provision for applicable penalties for failure to file a return or provide information by a licensee

Amendment to remove the 15% WHT on payments for inbound transport services by non resident service provider

Value-added tax (VAT)

The following changes were made through the  VAT (Amendment) Act, 2022, effective 1 July 2022:

  • Amendment to repeal the provision enacted in 2021 that exempted imported services used in the provision of exempt supplies
  • The list of Public International Organisations (entitled to certain VAT reliefs) was expanded to add  the International Development Law Organisation and replace the  former name Department for International Development (DFID) with Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) 
  • Amendment to extend the ability to account for VAT on cash basis to suppliers providing goods or services to Government

The list of exempt supplies in the Second Schedule of the VAT Act was expanded/ modified as follows: 

  • To include the supply of oxygen for medical use (under the category of dental,medical and veterinary goods)
  • Under the exempt category, the existing exemption for the construction of a new hospital facility has been relaxed slightly by removing the requirement for the facility to be at a level of a national referral hospital
  • To remove the supply of menstrual cups from the exemption list (now zero rated)

The list of zero rate supplies in the Third Schedule of the VAT Act is expanded/modified as follows:

  • To expand the category of educational materials to include education materials manufactured in a Partner State of the East African Community
  • To include the supply of menstrual cups ( under the existing category for the supply of sanitary towels and tampons)

Excise duty

The Excise Duty (Amendment) Bill 2022 proposes the following changes to the Excise Duty Act. To date, this Bill is yet to be assented to by the President:

  • Introduction of the definition for fruit juice to mean unfermented liquid extracted from the edible parts a fresh fruit whether the extracted liquid is diluted or not
  • Introduction of the definition for un-denatured spirits to mean spirits that are not mixed with any substance to render the spirit unfit for human consumption, including neutral spirits or alcoholic beverages made from neutral spirits that are fit for human consumption.
  • Schedule 2 to the Excise Duty Act 2014 has been amended to vary excise duty rates in respect of a number of goods and services

Stamp Duty

The following changes/ modifications were made through the  Stamp Duty (Amendment) Act, 2022, effective 1 July 2022:

Introduction of nil duty rate on the following instruments: 

  • Agreement relating to deposit of title-deeds, pawn pledge
  • Agricultural Insurance Policy
  • Security bond or mortgage deed executed by way of security for the due execution of an office, or to account for money or other property received by virtue of security bond or mortgage deed executed by a surety

The description of a trust under item 63 has been extended to include transfers from a holder of letters of administration or probate to a beneficiary

The minimum investment capital for new and existing manufacturers to qualify for the duty exemption for strategic investment projects in item 60A(f) has been reduced from USD 50 million to USD 35 million

Tax administration

The Tax Procedures Code (Amendment) Act 2022 provides for the following changes:

  • Alignment of tax agent registration to calendar year (from registration until 31 December)
  • Introduction for a new requirement for persons in the extractive industry to disclose the names of the persons contracted in the course of performance of their business. Failure to comply attracts a penalty of UGX 20 million
  • Introduction of new offences such as failure to activate or affix or forgery a tax stamp, failure to use electronic receipting or invoicing or forgery of electronic receipts or invoice, failure to file information related to automatic exchange of information etc
  • Introduction of new penalties and enforcement measures for various offences such as fines related to tax stamps, automatic exchange of information etc

Tax Appeals Tribunal Tribunal Act (TAT)

The following changes were introduced through the TAT (Amendment) Act, 2022 effective 1 July 2022:

  • The number of tribunal members has been increased from four to eight
  • Introduction of the requirement for at least forty (40%) of the members of the Tribunal to be women

Amendments for the Financial Year 2021/22

Effective 1 July 2021, the following changes were made to the Income Tax (Amendment) Act 2021:

  • Amendment of the definition of a beneficial owner expanded in relation to legal persons, trusts and other legal persons similar to trusts.
  • Introduction of the definition of a consideration to include "the total amount in money or of payment in kind, paid or payable for the supply of goods, services or sale of land by an person including any duties, levies, fees reduced by any discounts or rebates allowed".
  • Amendment of the definition of an exempt organisation to include among others, a religious, charitable or educational institution whose object is not for profit.
  • The exemption of income from tax related to a new investment in agro-processing was repealed.
  • The list of activities that are eligible for exemption from income tax was expanded to include the manufacture of chemicals for agricultural use, industrial use, textiles, glassware, leather products etc
  • The list of listed institutions exempt from income tax was expanded to include African Export- Import Bank and International Union for Conservation of Nature.
  • Amendment of the deduction allowed in respect of rental income has now been standardised to 75% of the gross rental income derived by both individuals and entities.
  • Amendment of the asset classes for capital allowances purposes to three (instead of four) classes, applying the rates of 40%,30% and 20%. The prior class two with a depreciation rate of 35% was repealed.
  • Introduction of the deferral of capital allowances on new assets which also qualify for initial allowances to the next year of income.
  • Introduction of indexation of an asset cost base when calculating capital gains on disposal for an asset that is sold 12 months or more after purchase.
  • Introduction of non recognition of gain or loss for income tax purposes of capital gains arising  from sale of an interest of a registered venture capital fund where at least 50% of the proceeds are reinvested within the same year of income.
  • Introduction of a requirement for the tax authority to facilitate automatic exchange of information where such is provided for under an international agreement.
  • Amendment to the provisions related to income tax refunds for purposes of determining the start date when the Commissioner is required to pay interest on refunds.

The Income Tax (Amendment) (No.2) Act,2021

In December 2021, the Parliament of Uganda passed the Income Tax (Amendment) (No.2), 2021 which provides for windfall tax and limitations of deductions on petroleum operations.  The Bill is promoting to cap the deduction allowed for petroleum operations of a licensee in the year of income to the cost recovery limit stipulated in the Petroleum Sharing Agreement (PSA) for contract areas1, 2A and 3. This is yet to be assented by the President.

Value-added tax (VAT)

Effective 1 July 2021, the VAT (Amendment) Act 2021 introduced the following changes:

  • Amendment of the provision related to the exemption of imported services to provide that an imported service will be exempt if it would be used in the provision of an exempt supply.
  • Introduction of a new requirement for taxpayers to utilise input tax credit within six months from the date of the invoice.
  • Introduction of a new provision requiring taxable person supplying specific types of services in Uganda to non taxable person to file quarterly VAT returns within 15 days. Such services include services in connection with immovable property in Uganda, electronic services delivered to a person in Uganda, radio or television broadcasting services received in Uganda etc 
  • Introduction of a new incentive to encourage non taxable persons who purchase goods or services above UGX 5 million per month and supported by an electronic receipt or invoice within 30 days to claim a refund of 5% of the tax paid. 
  • The list of Public International Organisations in the First Schedule of the VAT Act was expanded to include African Export- Import Bank and International Union for Conservation of Nature.
  • 200% penalty applies to any error made in the VAT return having repealed the requirement for such error to have been made "knowingly or recklessly" in order for the penalty to apply.

The list of exempt supplies in the Second Schedule of the VAT Act was expanded to include the following:

  • The supply of liquefied gas; 
  • The supply of denatured fuel ethanol from Cassava 
  • The supply of feasibility, design and construction services to a manufacturer newly investing at least USD 30 million ( or USD 5 million for a local investor), subject to using at least 70% locally sourced raw materials and with the capacity to employ at least 70% citizens ( by total wage bill)

The list of zero rate supplies in the Third Schedule of the VAT Act is expanded to include the following:

  • The supply of leased aircraft, aircraft engines, spare parts, maintenance equipment and repair services for aircraft.

Excise duty

Effective 1 July 2021, the Excise Duty (Amendment) Act 2021 introduced the following changes:

  • Introduction of a new provision for  remission of duty on plastic packaging if used for exported goods, packaging medicaments and manufactured from recycled plastics
  • Removal of provisions related to the requirement to apply for annual renewal of the excise duty registration certificate.
  • Schedule 2 to the Excise Duty Act 2014 has been amended to vary excise duty rates in respect of a number of goods and services.

Stamp duty

Effective 1 July 2021, the Stamp Duty (Amendment) Act 2021 introduced the following changes:

  • Introduction of nil duty rate for new manufacturers whose investment capital is at least USD 50 million or an existing manufacturer who makes an additional investment equal to USD 50 million subject to using at least 70% local raw materials and employing at least 70% citizens (by total wage bill).

Tax administration

The Tax Procedures Code (Amendment) Act 2021 provides for the following changes:

  • Amendment of the definition of a " tax decision" to exclude the following:
  • A decision made in respect to a tax assessment;
  • A decision or omission that affects a tax officer or employee or agent of the Authority;
  • The compoundment of an offence under any tax law;
  • A decision to refuse, issue or revoke a private ruling or omission to issue or revoke a private ruling.
  • Introduction of a specific prohibition for a local authority or Government institution to issue any form of authorisation or license to any person to conduct business in Uganda without a Tax Identification Number
  • Extension of the period in which a taxpayer can amend a self assessment return on discovery of an error from 12 months to three years
  • Introduction of alternative dispute resolution procedures for disputed decisions
  • Introduction of new offences with stringent penalties for misuse of tax stamps
  • The penalties for offences such as failure to file tax returns, non compliance with tax obligations etc were increased
  • The ordering rule for recognising tax payments was amended to remove the requirement that where a taxpayer has more than one tax liability then any payment is first applied to the oldest liability (whether it be principal tax, penal tax or interest). 

Amendments for the Financial Year 2020/21

Effective 1 July 2020, the following changes were made to the tax laws:

Income tax 

The Income Tax (Amendment) Act 2020 provides for the following changes:

  • Exemption of income of the Deposit Protection Fund.
  • Amendment to the 2018 investment incentives for new investors in specific sectors.
  • Introduction of withholding tax (WHT) of 10% on commissions paid to insurance and advertising agents.
  • Deduction of expenses falling under the new Electronic Fiscal Invoicing and Receipting System (EFRIS) will only be allowed if supported by an e-invoice or e-receipt (effective from 1 January 2021).
  • Tax clearance certificate requirement for transporters prior to renewal of operational licences.
  • Introduction of a specific monthly return filing requirement for WHT agents.
  • Amendment of the presumptive tax rates for small businesses (turnover up to 150 million Ugandan shillings [UGX]).
  • Inclusion of the Islamic Development Bank as an exempt listed institution.

Value-added tax (VAT)

The VAT (Amendment) Act and (Amendment) (No.2) Act 2020 introduced the following changes:

  • The period within which manufacturers can claim input VAT incurred prior to VAT registration is increased from the current six months to twelve months. 
  • A taxpayer purchasing goods and services from a designated e-invoice supplier can only claim an input tax credit where the expense is supported by an e-invoice or e-receipt. This amendment relates to the introduction of the EFRIS, which was operationalised with effect from 1 January 2021.

The list of exempt supplies in the Second Schedule of the VAT Act is expanded to include the following:

  • A range of agricultural machinery (e.g. trailers, combine harvesters, tractor mounted implements, crop sprayers, hay and straw balers, irrigation equipment).
  • Cotton seed cake.
  • Accommodation in tourist hotels and lodges located up-country.
  • Liquefied gas.
  • Processed milk.
  • Locally developed computer software, maintenance, and licensing.

The following imported services are exempted:

  • Software and equipment installation services to manufacturers.
  • Services incidental to tele-medical services.
  • Royalties paid in respect of agricultural technologies.

Excise duty

The Excise Duty (Amendment) Act 2020 provides for the following changes:

  • Schedule 2 to the Excise Duty Act 2014 has been amended to vary excise duty rates in respect of a number of goods.
  • Amendment of investment incentives for specific sectors.

Stamp duty

The Stamp Duty (Amendment) Act 2020 provides for the following changes:

  • The stamp duty rate on the following instruments is reduced to nil:
    • Debentures.
    • Equitable mortgages.
    • Further charges on mortgaged property.
    • Loan instruments.
  • Introduction of stamp duty of UGX 100,000 on a professional licence or certificate.

Tax administration

The Tax Procedures Code (Amendment) Act 2020 provides for the following changes:

  • Deferment until 31 December 2020 (without penalty) for payment of any tax due between 1 April and 30 June 2020 for taxpayers involved in the business of education, tourism, manufacturing, horticulture, or floriculture
  • Deferment until 31 December 2020 (without penalty) for payment of pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) liable to be withheld between 1 April 2020 and 30 June 2020 for all taxpayers.
  • Waiver of any interest and penalty outstanding as at 30 June 2020.