800,000 more Kenyans file tax returns by deadline than last year - KRA

800,000 more Kenyans file tax returns by deadline than last year - KRA

In Summary

• Kenya Revenue Authority Service Centers did not experience long queues during the last days of filing.

• KRA says it has progressively enhanced the iTax system.

Long queues at KRA support centre as Kenyans rush to beat the June 30 deadline for filing tax returns at Railway Club, Nairobi, on June 29, 2020.
Long queues at KRA support centre as Kenyans rush to beat the June 30 deadline for filing tax returns at Railway Club, Nairobi, on June 29, 2020.
Image: DOUGLAS OKIDDY

More than 4.4 million Kenyans filed their 2019 tax returns as the filing period officially closed at midnight on Tuesday.

This, despite the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic.

In a statement released on Wednesday, KRA said that this year, 800,000 more taxpayers filed their 2019 tax returns compared to last year, where 3.6 million Kenyans filed their returns by June 30.

This is equivalent to a 25% increment equated to the same time last year.

"The growth in the numbers shows positive progress in tax compliance, a move that is anticipated to drive the country towards economic recovery," the statement read.

The statement further said that similar to last year, Kenya Revenue Authority Service Centers did not experience long queues during the last days of filing, an improvement that is attributed to efficiency of the iTax platform.

"KRA has progressively enhanced the iTax system for a better user experience. For instance, iTax has been enhanced to include an auto-populated return for taxpayers with employment income as the only source of income," KRA said.

Taxpayers in this category, whose annual tax returns constitute the bulk of all annual tax returns, are only required to fill in annual pension and tax relief details in the respective fields provided to complete the return process.

Taxpayers were reminded that penalty for late filing of annual returns for Income Tax Individual is Sh2,000 or 5 per cent of tax due whichever is higher, while Income Tax for Non-Individual is Sh20,000 or 5 per cent of tax due whichever is higher.

The authority undertook comprehensive compliance checks on all taxpayers ahead of the tax filing deadline.

In a media statement, the taxman said the laws empower it to review tax returns for accuracy in the determination of taxes paid by each taxpayer.

''This may be done through returns review, comprehensive audits or investigations The outcome of which may include additional assessments or in the case of fraud; prosecution of the offenders,’’ KRA deputy commissioner, Marketing and Communication Grace Wandera said.

She added that any taxpayer chosen for review under any of these processes is notified and given appropriate time to respond or facilitate the processes.

According to the tax agency, the compliance checks may cover issues on Individual Income Tax (individuals or corporate companies), VAT, and Customs Duty, Excise Duty, Pay As You Earn, Withholding Tax, and other taxes administered by KRA.