What Can We Learn from the Uganda Revenue Authority’s Approach to Taxing High Net Worth Individuals?

Authors: Jalia Kangave, Susan Nakato, Ronald Waiswa, Milly Nalukwago & Patrick Lumala Zzimbe
Publisher: ICTD
Date: January 2018

Abstract:

ICTD Working Paper 72

Wealthy people contribute a significant share of the total revenue collected through personal income tax (PIT) in high-income countries. This is not the case in most low-income countries, where the bulk of revenue from PIT is collected from people who are in formal employment, especially in the public sector. In most cases, PIT is collected by employers and remitted to the tax authority. The problem is not an absence of laws providing for the taxation of wealthy individuals (commonly referred to as High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs)). Rather, these laws are rarely implemented. On the one hand, this results in losses of income tax revenue, and on the other, in severe inequity in the distribution of the tax burden. Successfully levying PIT on HNWIs requires a special organisational effort on the part of the tax authority.