Kenyan manufacturers and traders risk a Sh1 million fine or a jail term of three years if they fail to install upgraded electronic tax registers (ETRs) at their premises in the next one month, which will grant the taxman real-time access to invoices.
KRA will require businesses to buy and deploy the new Internet-enabled ETRs that track invoicing at every turn of a transaction to assess the tax dues promptly by July 31.
“If a VAT registered taxpayer does not comply within the specified period then we invoke section 53 of the VAT Act which says that you will either be fined Sh1 million or three years imprisonment or both if you don’t comply within the specified timeline,” said Hakamba Wangwe the chief manager in charge of Tax Invoice Management System (TIMS) operations ahead of the deadline.
But this will come as an extra cost to doing business since businesses will be forced to bear the cost of procuring the new registers.
“The idea is KRA is using technology to track sales on a real-time basis. So when someone makes a sale they will know and the buyers’ iTax page will also be updated,” said Nikhil Hira, a tax expert and business partner at Kody Africa LLP.
Besides the upgraded ETR software traders are supposed to procure software for the devices.
KRA which has approved 16 suppliers to sell the upgraded ETRs said there are enough stocks for the gadgets in the country. Suppliers said on Monday they are recording booming business amid the scramble to comply by Kenyan firms.
“We are selling from Sh45,000 to Sh120,000 for the ETRs and about Sh80,000 for the billing software,” said Charles Mwaura the chief executive of Wisepower Technologies Ltd one of the KRA-approved suppliers.
The new ETR will upgrade the current manual tax registers that store sales data for scrutiny by the KRA after 30 days.
“The system seeks to enhance compliance. With the existing situation where we have most of the processes being manual, we don’t have visibility of Vatable transactions," said Ms Wangwe
The new ETRs will be connected through the Internet to KRA’s systems allowing it to monitor all transactions in the traders' Point of Sale and invoicing systems.