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Balokole Churches Furious As URA Aims To Tax Them
Pastor Joseph Serwadda says he's held talks with Johnson Musinguzi Rujoki last week

Balokole Churches Furious As URA Aims To Tax Them

Reports reaching our news desk indicate that the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) is reportedly in the advanced stages of considering new taxes targeting the operations of Born-again Pentecostal churches.

The tax measures still pending stakeholder deliberations, according to reports, will be targeting mainly charity and other non-church activities being run by the churches.

The news has since enflamed some of the leaders of the Born-Again faith who have vowed to fight back.

Pastor Joseph Serwadda, President of Born Again faith in Uganda confirmed the news yesterday, Sunday.

He revealed that he was approached by officials from URA last week about the matter. He also says he called and held talks with John Rujoki, the Commissioner General URA who committed to initiate wider discussions.

In general, Serwadda says URA wants churches to start paying the basic taxes such as income tax for their employees, just like every other organization in the country.

Right now church employees don’t pay Pay as You Earn (PAYE) and all the labor-related taxes. URA are saying they want to have some kind of engagement at that level,” Serwadda revealed on Sunday.

He further revealed that from his engagement with Rujoki, the government is concerned about churches that operate “ministries”. Under these, they run different taxable programs and activities that are not related to the Church itself. These may include schools, NGOs, CBOs, and media houses among others.

“What I can confirm to you now is that if you have a church and you call it a “ministry” they have your record and will pay them their taxes whether you want or not,” said Serwadda.

We have been telling people to separate what is church and what is charity and they did not listen.”

Pastor Serwadda however, expressed disgust at some of the URA employees who he said were discourteous during their meeting. The pastor said one of the tax body agents, a one Rwentaro was “abusive” and disrespectful.”

When he’s talking you can sense a level of disrespect. He purported to give me lectures about my own work,” he said.

I have even drafted a (complaint) letter, but I later decided to call the CG (Rujoki) instead.”

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