KRA waives Sh209bn fines, interest for taxpayers

Times Tower in Nairobi, the headquarters of Kenya Revenue Authority.  

Photo credit: File | Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

At least 227,071 taxpayers had been granted Sh209 billion waivers for accrued interests and penalties by the end of last week in a tax pardon scheme by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).

This is based on the taxman’s latest update on the programme, which runs from September 1, 2023, until June 30, 2024.

KRA on Tuesday reported that by February 20, taxpayers enjoyed the tax waivers after they paid principal taxes totaling Sh14.5 billion.

“The KRA is pleased to report that so far as of February 20, 2024, 227,071 taxpayers have benefited from waiver of penalties and interest amounting to Sh209 billion under the ongoing Tax Amnesty Programme having paid a total of Sh14.5 billion in principal taxes,” KRA stated.

The tax amnesty programme was introduced by the Finance Act 2023, targeting taxpayers who had accrued penalties and interests on unpaid taxes until December 31, 2022. The taxpayers would enjoy the waiver upon full payment of the principal taxes they owed KRA by June 30, 2024.

“Further, taxpayers who have not filed their returns for the amnesty period are urged to file the returns in order to benefit from the Tax Amnesty Programme. We also encourage taxpayers with ongoing tax disputes to expedite resolution of their cases within the amnesty period by considering out-of-court settlements through the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) framework,” KRA said in a statement.

The authority said pursuing the ADR would enable the taxpayers “take advantage of the ongoing tax amnesty, noting that the provisions on waiver of penalties and interest and on abandonment of taxes, were repealed by the Finance Act, 2023.”

The KRA is under pressure to boost collections via more payments through schemes such as the tax waivers.

The government missed its tax revenue targets in the six months ending December 2023 by Sh186.2 billion, as the economy failed to yield to budget plans, seeing ordinary revenue record a 14.6 percent shortfall.

Treasury targeted to collect Sh1.27 trillion in ordinary revenue (taxes) during the six months but only managed Sh1.088 trillion, as all tax heads recorded shortfalls from the yields they were targeted during budget formulation, the second quarterly economic and budget review report shows.

The report by the Treasury notes that KRA had challenges collecting taxes, even as the appropriations-in-aid (AIA)- composed of fees when Kenyans seek public services- recorded Sh46.9 billion collections above target.

“All ordinary revenue categories recorded below target performance during the period under review except other revenue which surpassed its target by Sh3.9 billion,” Treasury reported.

During the period, import duty had a shortfall of Sh19.4 billion (22 percent) from the target of Sh87.6 billion while excise duty recorded a shortfall of Sh30.78 billion (18 percent), Treasury reported.

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Note: The results are not exact but very close to the actual.