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GENDER GAPS

Lobby calls out gender gap in tax systems

In Summary

•The lobby group has established that there exist marked inequalities brought about by factors including consumption patterns, property rights and asset ownership and the tax regime bringing about the injustice. 

•With the agency advocating for fairer taxation for sustainable development, it says the effect has been compounded by the fact their incomes are generally lower than those of men.

A KRA official serves a woman at the regional offices in Mombasa, June 29, 2018. /MALEMBA MKONGO
A KRA official serves a woman at the regional offices in Mombasa, June 29, 2018. /MALEMBA MKONGO

Kenyan tax system still has complexities with unfair taxes against women, East Africa Tax and Governance Network has said.

The lobby group has established that there exist marked inequalities brought about by factors including consumption patterns, property rights and asset ownership and the tax regime bringing about the injustice. 

The gender bias has also included procedure for filling income taxes or the differences in income tax reliefs.

“Generally, women spend most of their income on consumption of food and other basic services, as opposed to men, hence they carry a greater VAT burden especially on commodities such as milk, bread and wheat flour,” EATGN said.

With the agency advocating for fairer taxation for sustainable development, say the effect has been compounded by the fact their incomes are generally lower than those of men.

The report states that households headed by male individuals in urban areas spend 42.0 per cent, of their income on food commodities as opposed to 43.0 per cent of households headed by their female counterparts.

“This 1 per cent difference is deceptively small as it looks at the total expenditure of households rather than disaggregated expenditure differences between men and women within the household," it added.

Rural areas present even graver disparities in terms of consumption between the men and the women.

“From this we realize that the burden of VAT is generally higher on women since most of their incomes are generally spent on those goods and services that are taxable by the Value Added Tax,” it added.

The government raises tax revenue in two tiers the first done by the national government through income tax, VAT, Excise Duty and Customs Duty.

The second is the county government required to collect property, entertainment and other miscellaneous taxes.

The lobby group has pointed to tax breaks and incentives for women recognizing biases on indirect taxes, and public engagement modalities within the county government.