The transfer of the Tax Appeals Tribunal to the Judiciary has been finalised after the Treasury moved its Sh135 million budget to increase its independence.
The move to transfer the tribunal from the exchequer was prompted by Tax Appeals Tribunal (Amendment) Act which came into force in March of last year and carried legal changes increasing the tribunal’s independence which appraised it to an independent body under the Judicial Service Commission.
In June, the Judicial Service Commission picked a 10-member team after receiving powers to appoint members following the amendment of the Tax Appeals Tribunal Act.
Ann Waithira Githinji was picked as the tribunal’s secretary while lawyers Rodney Adhiambo, Robert Mugambi, Grace Muthoni and Edwin Muthoni were named legal members of the tribunal.
Delilah Kadzo, Njagi Karingo, Tanvir Mohsin, Cynthia Boundi and Kiprotich Kibet were meanwhile named non-legal members.
Amendments carried out in the Act have since allowed the tribunal to sit on a full-time basis shifting from hearings held on part-time leading to the piling up of unresolved cases.
The Tax Appeals Tribunal represents a quasi-judicial alternative method of handling tax disputes outside the primary judicial process.
The alternative dispute resolution process usually involves three parties including the taxpayer, the Commissioner of the Kenya Revenue Authority and a facilitator.
All tax disputes can be resolved through the alternative process apart from circumstances where the settlement would be contrary to the Constitution, where the matter borders on a technical interpretation of the law, where judicial clarification is sought and when there are undisputed judgements and rulings.
The Kenya Revenue Authority has banked on the mechanism to improve tax compliance while lowering costs and preserving relationships with taxpayers.