Economy

KRA updates iTax portal to effect new tax charges

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Acting KRA commissioner-general Rispah Simiyu at a past event on June 13, 2023. PHOTO | WILFRED NYANGARESI | NMG

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has updated the iTax portal, setting the stage for effecting new charges in line with the Finance Act.

“The system is being updated today (on Tuesday),” KRA said in response to the question regarding the updating in line with the Finance Act of 2023.

Among key changes now reflected are the new Pay As You Earn (PAYE) rates with the Finance Act of 2023 having introduced two new income tax rates at 32.5 percent for persons earning between Sh500,000 and Sh800,000 monthly and 35.0 percent for persons earning above Sh800,000.

Read: State to backdate new taxes should court lift freeze orde

This means that persons earning Sh500,000 and above per month should expect to witness a reduction in their take-home pay when the August 2023 payrolls are processed.

People with a gross salary of Sh600,000 per month will have their take-home pay reduced by Sh11,473.0 to Sh413,943.0 owing to the changes brought about by the new tax rate of 32.5 percent for pay as well as the introduction of Housing Tax at 1.5 per cent of gross pay.

Kenyans whose salary is Sh800,000 per month will see their take-home pay reduce from Sh565,416 to Sh548,988 once the Housing Tax and the new 35.0 percent tax rate is factored in.

KRA has not indicated whether it will be backdating collections for July 2023 collections but Technical Circular 71 circulated as an internal memo to staff within the authority indicated that effective dates of the new tax rates will be applied as per the Finance Act 2023.

This implies that KRA will be working with the July 1st, 2023; September 1st, 2023 and January 24th, 2024 effective dates as provided in the Act.

“All officers are advised to read this circular and the specific provisions of Finance Act 2023. Further, officers are advised that the provisions of the Act shall come into effect on the dates specified in Section 1 of the Act. The Act provides the following effective dates July 1st, 2023; September 1st, 2023; and January 1st, 2024,” the KRA memo signed by Deputy Commissioner in charge of corporate policy, Maurice Oray, states.

On July 28th the Court of Appeal lifted conservatory orders barring implementation of Finance Act 2023, paving the way for KRA to begin collections targeting an extra Sh211.0 billion worth of taxes in the period between July 2023 and June 2024.

Three Kenyans, including Busia Senator Okiya Omtatah, have since filed a notice of appeal with the intention to challenge the Court of Appeal decision at the Supreme Court.

Another major update on iTax is the incorporation of the Housing Tax at 1.5 percent of employees’ gross salary uncapped matched by another 1.5 percent by the employer towards the Housing Development Fund.

According to the National Assembly Finance and Planning Committee, the government is looking to collect Sh83.0 billion in the current financial year through the Housing Tax.

Read: State sets sights on tax breaks to lift research

Subject to the determination of the three-judge bench constituted by the Chief Justice to hear the petition regarding the Finance Act 2023, other updates on the iTax portal are set to be adjusted.

The portal, for instance, will be updated to capture the provision for Digital Assets Tax at 3.0 percent on September 1.

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