FINANCE ACT 2019

Low-income earners let off in amended Finance Act

The Parliament rejected several budget proposals in Finance Bill, 2019 among them taxing security, cleaning and catering services

In Summary

•The National Assembly also abolished the requirement of boda bodas and tuk-tuks to have an insurance cover for passengers and pedestrians.

A worker clears debris after renovation of MPs’ bar at Parliament yesterday /JACK OWUOR
A worker clears debris after renovation of MPs’ bar at Parliament yesterday /JACK OWUOR

Security guards and cleaners have seen a reprieve in their income, following a rejection of taxation by Parliament.

The Finance Act, in its initial form had proposed the imposing of withholding tax on security services, cleaning services, fumigation services, and outside.

The services retained for taxation include air transport and sales promotion, marketing and advertising services.

However the president rejected the Bill which also recommended the retention of the interest rate caps.

MPs failed to raise a two third majority to block the president Uhuru Kenyatta's veto. It was signed into law on November 7 paving way for new tax measures for the 2019/2020 financial year.

 

The proposal to broaden the tax scope introduced by the National Treasury intends to raise Kenya Revenue Authority collections to Sh1.8 trillion and cater for government’s expenditure as well as support the Big Four Agenda.

The National Assembly also abolished the requirement of boda bodas and tuk-tuks to have an insurance cover for passengers and pedestrians.

Even the mandatory insurance is not a tax  the cost would have pushed up boda boda transport.

Other proposals that hit a snag include the introduction of tax on repatriation of income from a branch to head office.

Company’s shareholders, directors, company secretary among other officers have equally been spared culpability by KRA in tax offences in case of a company's tax evasion.

 

The bill sought to amend Section 18 of the Income Tax Act, requiring the inclusion of every person who is a director or controlling member of the company to be equally liable where the entity they represent had unresolved tax liabilities.

Retirement Benefits Schemes that invest in guarantee schemes will only withdraw their funds or transfer them to another Scheme after the three-year period.

The schemes have been denied their push to reduce this to one-year, as it would be effective January 2020.

 
 
 

Capital Gains Tax will remain at five per cent instead of the proposed 12.5 per cent easing the burden on  transactions like acquisition, recapitalisation and incorporation of companies. 

To meet its target, the Kenya Revenue Authority is now focussed on increasing the compliance costs for taxpayers.

In December, itrolled out an elaborate tax base expansion programme.

The process is set to recruit over 500,000 new taxpayers who have been out of the tax bracket and raise more than Sh60 billion in the 2019/2020 fiscal year.