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Uganda Real estate dealers decry high taxes

Wednesday August 10, 2011

Uganda Real estate dealers and developers in Kampala have asked the Government to sensitise the public on the taxes levied on properties.

The dealers argue that the Government will lose revenue if taxes are arbitrary raised. Dealers pointed out that they are taxed up to sh50m for any land and property purchases worth sh150m.

However, a Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) official explained that only a stamp duty of 1% is charged on the property sold worth sh50m and above. The fee is paid by the buyer of the property.

“It (tax) has been there only that people have been taking advantage of the loopholes in the system,” the official pointed out.

He clarified that they were effecting the law and looking for defaulters.

“There is a lot happening in the sector. Many people are making a lot of money on property sales, but are not paying income tax. That is what we want to fix.”

But the dealers and developers noted that the figure was too high for their businesses.

“We are willing to pay the tax, but the public that is purchasing our land and houses need to be given an explanation on the procedure of the property tax,” Anatoli Kamugisha, the Akright Projects managing director, told a real estate dealers and developers workshop in Kampala recently.

Nicholas Arinaitwe, the president of the Association of Real Estates Agents, observed that the Government may fail to collect the expected revenue if the exercise is not well explained to developers and dealers.

The workshop advised the Governments to set up a standard fee for the tax. The developers also insisted that URA should educate the public on the tax because the buyers accuse property dealers of charging their own fees.

“Property business will reduce. It will only be safer for one to sell land than buying,” Mugisha said.

By Juliet Waiswa: The New Vision Newspaper

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