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iTax Defaulters Slapped with Sh.1,000 - 50,000 Fines As KRA Declines To Extend Thursday Deadline.

Heavy penalties now await the over 2.3 million taxpayers who failed to beat Friday’s June 30th deadline to file their tax returns for the year ending 2015.

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) said on Friday taxpayers who did not file returns during the period will now face penalties of a minimum of Sh1,000 for individuals and Sh10,000 for companies or five% of the net tax due. The taxman ruled out an extension to the deadline which saw over 1.7 million taxpayers file their returns with defaulters being given up to the end of July to pay their fines or risk incurring interest.

According to KRA, four million Kenyans are registered on iTax, the online portal used to file tax returns which therefore means that at least 2.3 million taxpayers will be penalised either for late filing of returns or for not filing at all.

"The Authority would like to reiterate that the deadline for filing returns has not been extended and will not be extended," the Commissioner said.

He went on to explain that in line with the Tax Procedure Act 2015, Section 83, late filing of returns attract penalties as follows;

Tax payers who failed to file their employment returns will be fined 25% of tax due or Sh10, 000.
Those who failed to file their Turnover returns will be charged Sh. 5,000. Consequently, taxpayers who flouted any other tax return obligation will be fined 25% of the tax payable under the respective tax caps, or Sh. 25,000, whichever is higher.

The taxman also stated that those who failed to submit the necessary documents other than file tax returns will be charged Sh. 1,000 for each day or part day default although the penalty will not exceed Sh. 50,000.
Hundreds of disappointed tax payers were turned away on Thursday night after iTax workers at KRA support centres closed shop. The stations were closed at 10 pm, two hours before the deadline set for filing tax returns for the year 2015.

Thursday registered the highest number of Kenyans filing with over 128,000 returns in a single day as they tried to beat the deadline.

Speaking to journalists during the launch of iTax support centre in Thika Town, KRA Director Evans Kakai said many Kenyans registered and filed their returns both online and manually.

"Our main objective was to register as many people as possible regardless of whether they are filing nil returns," he said.

There was a long queue in Thika as people braved the chilly weather to file their returns Thursday. Some of those interviewed said they were unable to file their returns online because the KRA system was not functioning.

The system, famously referred to as itax, went offline Friday afternoon before the taxman released a statement outlining the penalties to be levied on all those who failed to meet the deadline. Several attempts to log in to the website proved futile with an error message reading; “Sorry, iTax System is temporarily unavailable due to a scheduled maintenance. Please try again later.”

A further attempt to call the switchboard and call centre numbers indicated on the website bore no fruits as the calls went unanswered.

However, the KRA director refuted the claims saying "it is the Kenyan way of doing things at the last minute that jammed the system."

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