KRA Warns Kenyans That They Will Not Transact Any Business If They Fail To Register With iTax.



“You will not be able to do any business in Kenya if you do not register with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA)!” That was the plain message that the taxman is relaying to Kenyans as they close shop at midnight, June 30th 2016.

KRA Director Evans Kakai said that Kenyans had no choice but comply with this directive otherwise they would not be in a position to transact any business with anybody or institution if at all they were not registered with KRA.

“We are telling any business person or anyone aspiring to do any business or any transaction that we have actually linked with almost 35 commercial banks. All transactions that you are doing with these commercial banks are monitored by the Kenya Revenue Authority.  So, you are only safer by registering with the Kenya Revenue Authority,” Kakai warned.

Kakai said that they were making all arrangements to serve all their customers in time to beat the deadline, noting that all those who will not make it by then will attract some penalties. However, he said that KRA would see to it that no one was penalised for an error emanating from the taxman delays in their system.

He added that those who were previously registered with the institution were supposed to ‘migrate to iTax’ platform.

“Basically, the target is for those who have never registered with KRA but obviously the ones who had been registered before will also be migrated. Automatically they will be migrated to the new iTax platform,” Kakai clarified.

The director said this when they officially launched a new iTax Support Centre in Thika to enable Kenyans interact with the taxman and reduce the time lost in engaging with them.
He said that the platform was one of the institution’s reforms to make it more people friendly and engage with the taxpayers real-time.

“Being Part of returns filing is a process that we would like every Kenyan to partake. The reason we are here as part of the (KRA) board is to enhance our relationship with our customers (taxpayers) and enable us increase customer satisfaction from 65% to around a minimum of about 85%. We would like to go round the whole country to get closer to the citizens and explain to them the importance of tax compliance as a way of participating in building their own country,” said Kakai.

He said that they were going round the country sensitising the wananchi on the need to enrol through iTax which has simplified the process of interacting with Kenya Revenue Authority. By automating their systems, KRA is trying to minimise the one-on-one interactions with clients which has been the case before. This, he said, would make it possible to have their issues solved in real time and at the comfort of their homes or 
offices.

“Last week we were in the Western Region, this week we are doing Central Kenya and later round the whole country in an effort to make Kenyans take ownership in the development of their own country through paying taxes. We have so far seen a great improvement in terms of registration, rising from 1.2 million last year to almost 3 million registered taxpayers currently. Our target is to actually register 4 million by 2018. So, it can only be taken positively if we take the initiative to meet Kenyans and explain to them the importance of registering,” he added.

The tax agency plans to open up three iTax support centres in Central Kenya region; in Thika, Murang’a and in Nyeri, in addition to the 37 support desks situated at Huduma Centres countrywide. It has in the last three months trained more than 40,000 Kenyans on how to file their tax returns online.

Economic analysts have said Kenya needs to increase the number of taxpayers to meet its revenue targets as opposed to raising taxes. KRA recently started efforts to rope in farmers and landlords into the tax bracket. Kenya's taxpayers are below one million in a country with a population of more than 40 million.

In the peculiar Kenyan fashion, people scrambled in a last-minute rush to line up at the Thika KRA offices and other designated centres to finalise tax obligations on this deadline day despite earlier warnings to avoid filing returns on the last day. Hundreds of taxpayers queued for hours waiting to be registered before the midnight deadline.

Cyber Café operators registered a booming business, especially in the last one week as residents rushed to beat the June 30th deadline.

One of those in the queue told Thika Town Today that it was a hectic process, though the Authority aided the procrastinators by availing its staff outside the offices to provide guidance.

“Sisi ni watu wa Jua Kali hatujui hizi mambo ya tax kwa sababu hatujaajiriwa na serikali,” said the taxpayer who wanted to remain anonymous.

Security officers were present outside and inside the building with those accessing the building being subjected to security checks.
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