Patience T Rubagumya, URA Commissioner Legal Services and Board Affairs

The Tax Appeals Tribunal (TAT) has awarded Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), also referred to as the Respondent, the right to collect a tax liability of over Shs21 billion from Game Discount World (Uganda) Limited, the applicant. 

This follows Game Discount World’s application NO. 25 of 2021 with TAT lodged against URA’s decision of imposing the tax liability. The Applicant was challenging a customs post clearance audit.  

URA says, it was established in the post clearance audit that the Game Discount World omitted several incidental costs during the importation of goods from Masstores (pty) Ltd trading as Mass discounters, a fellow subsidiary incorporated in South Africa.

On 5th May 2021, when the matter came up for hearing, the Respondent raised a preliminary objection to the effect that the Application was time barred having been lodged outside the mandatory forty-five days.

URA submitted that Section 230(1) of the East African Community Customs Management Act (EACCMA), 2004, provides that; “A person dissatisfied with the decision of the commissioner under section 229 may appeal to a tax appeals tribunal established in accordance with section 231.

URA further contended that the commissioner made the decision on 9th September 2020 and Game Discount World (U) Limited lodged her Application for review on the 6th March 2021, way out of the mandatory 45 days within which one ought to lodge an Application for review

To reinforce their submissions, URA’s lawyers cited the case of URA Vs Uganda Consolidated Properties Ltd  where the Court of Appeal of Uganda, held that: Timelines set by statutes are matters of substantive law not mere technicalities and must be strictly complied with.

The Tax Appeals Tribunal agreed with URA  that the Application was time barred and thus dismissed the Application, thus giving giving the tax body the greenlight to collect the tax liability owed to it by Game Discount World. 

Game Discount World was represented by AF Mpanga Advocates while URA  was represented by Ronald Baluku, Kwerit Sam and Aliddeki Ssali Alex of our Legal Services and Board Affairs Department under the leadership of Patience T Rubagumya.