Parliament on Thursday after a heated debate passed the Income Tax Amendment Bill 2017 empowering the Minister of Finance to make rental estimates in the country.
The Minister of Finance has been empowered, recipe to prescribe by Statutory Instrument, price estimates of rent based on the rating of the rental property in a specific location for the purpose of assessing rental tax under the Income Tax Act.
These rates will only be used in case of landlords that do not file returns or file inaccurate returns.
Members took time to agree on allowing the Minister such powers with worry that the Minister may misuse them by favoring some property owners which they say would defeat the purpose of the law.
The State Minister for Planning, capsule David Bahati convinced members to test government and see after all this could be reviewed on a yearly basis.
The Mps later agreed but proposed to make changes and add in a clause that ensures all rent agreements should be effected in Uganda shillings since Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) does not collect in dollars.
“Rent just like tax should be paid in Ugandan Shillings; all rental agreement shall be executed and effected in Uganda Shillings,” Members resolved.
This was earlier objected to by the Mitooma Woman MP, Jovah Kamateeka who argued that the directive should be restricted to only commercial rentals not residential because Uganda is a liberalized economy.
Kamateeka’s submission was however rejected maintaining that the Minister should levy rent for all building across the country.