By HOMELAND BUSINESS DESK
Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has starting Monday September 20, intensified countrywide enforcement on the use of digital stamps.
In a public notice by Ian M. Rumanyika, the URA acting assistant commissioner public and corporate affairs warned violators of the law including retailers dealers trading in unstamped cigarettes— saying they risk heavy penalties for trading in unauthorised goods.
Citing Section 19B (1) of the TPCA 2014, Rumanyika says, violators will be charged upto a penal tax equivalent to double the tax due on the goods or UGX.50,000,000 whichever is higher.
Seizure of goods, closure of business premises, distress proceedings or prosecution he says are the options the taxman has to punish violators.
Digital Tax Stamps are physical paper stamps with security features and codes.
They come in different formats such as; the direct ink print mainly on bottled water, soda and beer, the short rectangular paper stamp on cigarettes, the round paper stamp on some bottled water, soda and beer brands, and the long rectangular paper stamp which goes over the top of wine/spirit bottles among others.
URA says the was Digital Tracking Solution (DTS) is also aimed at ensuring that the said products only go onto the market after being cleared for standards, taxes and origin.
The system jointly implemented by URA, and the Uganda National Bureau of Standards ensures quality standards, protects government revenue as well as genuine manufacturers from counterfeiters.
This is in addition to quick response code (QR code) that allows distributors, retailers, and consumers to use an app on their smartphones to verify the authenticity of the products.
Rumanyika says any product bearing a digital tax stamp that is not activated shall be deemed unstamped and that the owner will be punished.
Digital tax stamps were first rolled out on highly consumable products including beer, soda, spirits, Wine, Mineral water, and Tobacco products including Cigarettes. The development was recently extended to sugar and Cement.
The new stamps solution is part of URA’s scheme to combat illicit trade, close revenue leakages while managing compliance of some multinational companies that exploit gaps and in the tax collection architecture.
URA has previously invested in consumer sensitisation and education to help the public understand the Digital Tax Stamp system.