(Xinhua) -- More than 18 African tax
administrators under the African Tax Forum (ATAF) are
meeting in Uganda to discuss the integration of science
and technology in tax administration.
During the five-day meeting which
opened on Monday under the theme, The Evolution of
Science in Tax Administration, the experts will also
study how Uganda has been able to integrate science in
enhancing tax compliance.
Mary Baine, ATAF director of tax
programs, said Uganda’s integration of science in tax
administration could potentially be a major breakthrough
in revenue mobilization in Africa, as the continent
seeks new ways to increase revenue for development.
Baine said the new system could also
help the African continent fight illicit financial
flows, from which it is estimated that Africa loses more
than 50 billion U.S. dollars annually.
“With this, we can now assess tax
based on facts, and also know what is illegally being
taken out of our jurisdictions,” she said.
She said the scientific system could
be a vital component of tax administration because it
enables the tax man to determine key properties of
various goods to establish their true tax value.
“Instead of chasing the chain of
production, empirical data will then provide the tax
administrators with the tools and information to assess
taxes,” she said.
Patrick Mukiibi, acting commissioner
general of Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Uganda’s tax
body, said the east African country integrated science
in tax administration over an eight-year period after
realizing that it could help collect more taxes
“After realizing that science and
technology are revolutionizing the way things are being
done all over the world, we worked hard and introduced
systems like Ascuda world to help improve domestic tax
collection,” Mukiibi said.
He said URA will rely on science and
technology to optimize tax collection, compliance,
resource utilization and service delivery over the next
“URA wants to make it easy and
convenient for everyone to comply on their taxes, and as
such we are keen on improving service delivery using
science and technology,” he said.
He said the tax body has invested in
building analytical and forensic science systems and
laboratories to enhance tax compliance based on
He said using forensic interrogations;
the tax man will be able to examine financial statements
to determine authenticity and omissions of data intended
to manipulate tax assessment.
“When we interrogate the financial statement, we shall
be able to tell the difference between inputs and
outputs to determine what tax the manufactures should
pay. We are also introducing digital tax stamps, where
by as the products fall off the production line,
they get a stamp to authenticate them,
but also to differentiate them from the counterfeits,”
Mukiibi said new science based system
also help the tax collectors to identify items deemed
not fit for human consumption and stop their
importation, as well as fight illicit financial flows.
“If we get access to our suspected
clients’ electronic transactions, we can be able to know
how much was wired out of the country, and compare it to
what was declared for consistency. If we also get access
to their documents, either remotely or not, we can
establish what is concealed and from this establish what
we could have lost in taxes,” he said.
Patrick Bitature, chairman of Private
Sector Foundation, said URA’s scientific innovation is
timely because it will level the playing ground for
entities in the private sector.
“We have entities that are not fully
disclosing their taxable revenue and as such are paying
less to the government coffers. This will weed them
out,” Bitature said.
He said a boost in government
collections will improve the work environment for
private sector players through better electricity
supply, water, schools, hospitals and roads.