1.4m taxpayers yet to file returns ahead of June 30 deadline

tax returns

A Kenya Revenue Authority staff assist a taxpayer file her tax returns at the iTax Support Centre in Nairobi Railways on June 30, 2020. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG

About 70 percent of taxpayers have filed tax returns ahead of the June 30 deadline with millions of workers and businessmen risking fines for default.

Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) data show that 3.82 million Kenyans had filed their tax returns by June 20 against a target of 5.5 million taxpayers.

Failure to meet the deadline is an offence which attracts a Sh10,000 fine or 25 percent of salaried workers’ tax bill, Sh5,000 in case of SMEs which are subject to turnover tax, and Sh20,000 or five percent of tax liability on other business incomes.

“About 3.82 million taxpayers had filed their tax returns as at June 20 compared to 3.14 million taxpayers as at the same time last year. We expect daily filings to increase as deadline approaches,” said KRA’s manager for Taxpayer Services Wanja Wang’ondu.

The KRA has been processing between 80,000-100,000 filings daily, it reported Tuesday.

The taxman estimates that daily filing will triple to 300,000 as the deadline nears. It has also extended working hours in the last-minute rush

The iTax support centres — which provide guidance to those making returns electronically — will open 7am to 6pm on Monday to Friday while on Saturday and Sunday they will be working from 8am-1pm.

The KRA’s contact centre will also remain open Monday to Friday from 6am to 10pm while on Saturdays and Sundays they will be working from 9am to 4pm.

“We ourselves beating the 5.5 million target we had set for ourselves at the start of this exercise,” she says.

Under the Tax Procedures Act of 2015, the KRA has powers to order employers to deduct the penalties and tax dues from workers’ salary.

Companies face a penalty of Sh20, 000 or five percent of the tax payable in the year the return is meant to capture, or whichever is higher.

Filling tax returns has emerged as one of the taxman’s preferred way to netting tax cheats and growing the income tax segments amid struggles to meet collection targets.

The law requires anyone with a PIN to file their annual returns irrespective of their employment status.