Lawyers, KRA lock horns over tax rules


The Kenya Revenue Authority headquarters in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Lawyers have locked horns with the taxman over new rules for legal representation of taxpayers in dispute.

Tax Procedures (Tax Agents) Regulations 2019 give the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) the power to choose lawyers for firms and individuals in disputes.

The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has written to the Attorney- General Paul Kariuki seeking intervention over the “illegal and retrogressive” rules.

The proposed laws also empower the KRA Commissioner-General to register a person as a tax agent if that person is tax compliant and is an advocate of the High Court of Kenya and holds a current practising certificate.

The KRA boss will then issue a certificate of registration for lawyers who will represent clients in the matters that relate to tax on behalf of taxpayers without which they will not be allowed to appear before the Tax Appeals Tribunal.

This, according to the LSK, will amount to KRA being a player and choosing the match officials, a move LSK chairman Allen Waiyaki described as “procedurally unfair.”

“The Commissioner shall have the sole power and discretion to decide who shall be appointed as tax agents. This would mean the Commissioner who is the respondent in all cases filed at the Tax Appeals Tribunal would be the sole gatekeeper who decides who may be appointed to represent parties against him.