URA to expand tax with receipt camp 8 By Immaculate Wanyenze Throughout the five decades he has lived, Simon Semule has never requested for a receipt after purchasing goods. The city landlord thinks it is a “kizungu thing” (white man’s practice) to ask for a receipt. Ordinarily, he argues, one should only know what to buy and what it costs. “I know how much I go with for shopping. I know what to buy and how much change to expect. Asking for a receipt, therefore, is no big deal,” Semule stated. Like Semule, who does not request for receipts, his son, Lazarus Kayondo, a retailer in Kabalagala does not issue receipts. Reason: most of his customers are from within the community and in case of expiry of a product, they easily return them. Besides, Kayondo knows them. Brian Tugumisirize a media practitioner shares Semule and Kayondo’s views. Issuance of receipts, argued Tugumisirize, especially in supermarkets is not necessary. Supermarkets are reliable and their products are genuine, he contended. “If I can’t check the expiry date of products I buy, then why bother about a receipt,” Tugumisirize said. And yet if the trio-Semule, Kayondo and Tugumisirize incur a loss after buying goods that are faulty or expired, they would be compelled to dash back to the seller. But without a receipt, few sellers would compensate-refund the monies or offer a better product. Which is the reason why Kayondo and Semule ought to start issuing receipts and Tugumisirize asking for them after a transaction. To instill the practice, URA is embarking on a receipt campaign-to ensure people demand for receipts. Accordingly, the campaign will enable URA to protect taxpayers against fraud. For example, without documentation, verification of transactions is difficult, it is hard to manage compliance and there is a tendency of traders falsifying amounts. For taxpayers, lack of receipts makes record keeping difficult, which may hinder access to loans from established financial institutions since these institutions are hesitant to deal with informal establishments. Proprietors are therefore left with one option-loan sharks whose exorbitant interest rates have led to the collapse of many businesses. Other pains are: not being able to easily determine a business’ profitability and transactions being based on estimates instead of the actual number of sales for example. Issuing and receiving receipts, would be beneficial to the public. Some of the benefits to taxpayers include receiving
9 base aign better services since issuance of receipts will put demand on businesses to give quality service. Losses and fraud can be detected early and this simplifies the process of determining profits. It also reduces cost of compliance as companies and Small and Medium Term Enterprises (SMEs) do not struggle to get documentation like invoices and receipts when they transact with others. Issuing and demanding receipts by buyers will enable the government have an insight into the business operating environment. This will facilitate designing appropriate policies to spur business growth, expand the tax base and increase the revenue potential of the informal sector. “URA is optimistic that the campaign will improve voluntary compliance resulting from clients demanding receipts and invoices. There will be opportunity to analyze the trading zones around the country and develop effective and workable approaches to managing compliance of businesses among other benefits,” Silajji Kanyensigye the Assistant Commissioner Larger Taxpayers’ Office Domestic Taxes. Amid the soon-to-be launched campaign, there will be receipt raffle draws to allow compliant clients win goodies like motorcycles, bicycles, shopping bags and others. All these measures, are aimed at achieving a symbiotic relationship for taxpayers, investors, who will have improved confidence in the business operating environment and government. To confirm that a receipt is genuine and admissible by institutions like URA, look out for the following: • The words “Receipt” or “invoice” in a prominent place • The name, address and Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) of the seller. • The name or business name and address of the recipient (purchaser). • The serial number of the invoice and date of issue. • The quantity or volume of the goods or services supplied. • The selling price per unit and total value • The date the receipt/ invoice was issued • A brief description of the items sold sufficient to identify the goods or services supplied Should a client refuse to issue a receipt or give you a receipt that does not satisfy your needs or does not meet the minimum standards as above, do not be quiet. Ask for a receipt, issue a receipt and look out for those who are not issuing any.