ON COURSE

KRA rules out extension of tax filing deadline

Non-compliant individuals, companies face punishment.

In Summary

•Kenyans who do not file tax returns risk being blocked from applying for jobs, open bank accounts, or register land.

•Companies, learning institutions, and self-help groups that failed to file their tax returns on time will not be able to get government services that require PIN numbers.

KRA staff assist members of the public to file tax returns at a support centre/FILE
KRA staff assist members of the public to file tax returns at a support centre/FILE
Image: FILE

Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has ruled out an extension of the June 30 tax filing deadline.

This means those who fail to file their returns by midnight of Wednesday next week face fines of up to Sh10,000.

Kenyans who do not file tax returns also risk being blocked from applying for jobs, open bank accounts or registering land.

Companies, learning institutions and self-help groups that failed to file their tax returns on time will not be able to get government services that require PIN numbers.

“The law does not allow extension for the filing of returns,” KRA replied to an inquiry by the Star yesterday, noting it will not give any extension.

Filing for the 2020 year of income tax returns started on January 1, 2021, with the taxman expecting over five million taxpayers to file their annual income tax returns by the deadline.

This is up from the more than 4.4 million Kenyans who filed tax returns last year, which was about 800,000 more than the previous year, where 3.6 million Kenyans filed their returns on time.

This was more than a 22.2 per cent growth despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

Filing tax returns is one of the taxman’s ways of netting tax cheats and growing the income tax segment, as it pushes to meet its tax obligation.

As of June 20, over 3.8 million Kenyans had filed their returns successfully, translating to a 22.5 per cent growth compared to the 3.1 million same period the previous year.

Marketing and Communication Deputy Commissioner Grace Wandera yesterday attributed the increase in the number of returns filed to the stability of the iTax system.

She said KRA has enhanced the system in readiness to high traffic ahead of the deadline.

“The iTax system is currently very efficient, enabling taxpayers to file their returns 24 hours a day, without hitches,” Wandera said, “We have also extended our Service Centres and Contact Centre opening hours to serve the increasing footfall.”

In the month of June alone, KRA has served over 230,000 customers, registering 71 per cent growth of customers seeking services at the Huduma Centres and Service Centres compared to last year, she noted.

The Authority is promoting the use of digital channels including the KRA M-Service App in light of the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic, which has occasioned minimal visits to public places as a safety measure.

KRA has also put in place the necessary measures to support taxpayers, who may need assistance during the filing season virtually, Wandera affirmed.

Customer support for filing of returns has also been optimised through various channels including; calls, emails, social media, chats, KRA service centres and Huduma centres.

So far, KRA is serving approximately 20,000 customers in the various channels daily.

The numbers are expected to soar as the deadline approaches.

KRA has been monitoring individuals and companies with Personal Identification Number (PIN) who failed to file returns, given those with zero income are expected to fill what is known as nil return.

Last month, the taxman issued a one-month notice over the intention to deregister non-compliant PINs affecting up to 62,727 Kenyans, if they failed to file returns.

The taxman has been under pressure to meet his revenue targets, key in supporting the country's budget.

In the 11-months to May, actual tax revenue receipts were Sh1.131 trillion against a target of Sh1.469 trillion, according to the National Treasury statement of actual revenues and net exchequer issues for the 2020/21 financial.

This means KRA requires to collect Sh156 billion this month to meet the target, which was revised from the original Sh1.567 trillion.