KRA grants amnesty to tax returns defaulters

The taxman has also unveiled an online auction after piloting

In Summary

•Commissioner General  Humphrey Wattanga said  KRA is constantly determined to enhance voluntary compliance among taxpayers .

•He has urged taxpayers to embrace the programme before it closes on June 30, 2024, with KRA anticipated to collect approximately Sh50bn from the amnesty programme.

The KRA headquarters at Times Tower in Nairobi
The KRA headquarters at Times Tower in Nairobi
Image: FILE

Kenya Revenue Authority has extended an olive branch to taxpayers who failed to file returns on time, as it launches this year's Taxpayers’ Month.

According to KRA Commissioner General  Humphrey Wattanga, the taxman has lined up a myriad of activities aimed at "giving back to the society and honouring compliant taxpayers."

“In the spirit of giving back to taxpayers, we are calling on those who have accrued interests up to December 2022 to take advantage of our tax amnesty programme and pay up the principal taxes due, so that we can write off the penalties and interests accrued,” said Wattanga.

He said that KRA is constantly determined to enhance voluntary compliance among taxpayers and urged taxpayers to embrace the programme before it closes on June 30, 2024.

“All taxpayers are welcome to apply for waiver; for those who did not file their returns and accrued penalties for non-filing, they automatically qualify, and should go ahead and file their returns,” he said.

KRA is anticipated to collect approximately Sh50 billion from the tax amnesty programme.

Treasury CS Njuguna Ndung’u said besides being a means of giving back to the society, the amnesty programme is one of government’s fiscal policy measures aimed at cushioning Kenyans and strengthening economic resilience.

This is on the back of adverse domestic and external headwinds being experienced globally.

The CS said that the government is cognisant of the current changing environment and will continue to support private businesses' capacity to adapt through reforms.

This will create business value for entrepreneurs to promote economic growth.

“Tax amnesties are projected to bring in additional revenue as taxpayers voluntarily report and pay taxes that may never be collected by the government," said the CS.

The amnesty programme is expected to improve tax compliance as tax administrations learn from taxpayers’ previous behaviours, thereby allowing them to plan better.

Meanwhile, KRA has unveiled an online auction as it slowly shifts from the traditional physical process.

This is part of KRA’s technological strategies aimed at streamlining tax administration procedures, it said on Monday, to enhance service delivery and improve revenue collection.

The unveiling follows a successful piloting of the online auction, through which it collected Sh37.5 million.

According to the taxman, the process will boost government efforts to decongest ports and ensure cargo is cleared in a timely and efficient manner.

Speaking during the Taxpayers’ Month Launch at Customs House, Mombasa, Wattanga said the online auction will give taxpayers the opportunity to appreciate transparency of the bidding process.

He noted that the negotiation process will be faster and accessible to registered taxpayers countrywide and globally.

He said KRA will continue embracing technology in its quest to enhance tax compliance.

The taxman has embraced a collaborative business model which incorporates taxpayers’ feedback.

Among the technologies that showcase this is the Electronic Tax Invoice ManagementSystem (eTIMS), rolled out in February 2023.

A total of 95,732 VAT registered taxpayers had on boarded eTIMs by end of Financial Year 2022/23.

eTIMS has helped minimise VAT fraud and increased tax revenue.

Wattanga said that KRA has also integrated its systems with betting and gaming companies, with the aim of streamlining tax remittances from the sector and scaling up revenue collection.

The programme has enabled KRA to make significant improvements in the sector’s tax administrative processes,with the daily visibility of the firms providing trends that inform compliance measures.

The Taxpayers’ Month is organised customarily to celebrate compliant taxpayers.

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