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People with disability unaware of their tax saving position: KRA

People living with disability listen to KRA chief manager of Tax Education Division marketing and communication department, Ezekiel Maru, on December 1, 2017. PHOTO | ANDREW KILONZI | NMG
People living with disability listen to KRA chief manager of Tax Education Division marketing and communication department, Ezekiel Maru, on December 1, 2017. PHOTO | ANDREW KILONZI | NMG 

Most Kenyans living with disability are still unaware of their tax exemption status thus losing out on saving much needed cash from their income, the taxman has said.

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) tax education manager, Jeddy Ochuodho, said Friday that thousands of people with disabilities still pay tax on their income while unaware of the exemptions they are entitled to.

“As KRA, we do sector based sensitisation and today we were dealing with people with disabilities to sensitise them on their obligations, rights...We want to tell them about their exemptions...which they are not aware of,” Ms Ochuodho said during a workshop held at KRA's headquarters at Times Towers.

She explained that the law had exempted them from paying taxes for monthly earnings of Sh150,000 and below and Sh1.8 million annual income from organisations owned by people with disability since the exemption policy was implemented in April, 2010.

“If you are a person with disability you get up to the first Sh150,000 tax free but only few are aware of this. So we wanted them to know that,” said Ms Ochuodho.

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Special vehicles

Ms Ochuodho said they were also exempted from paying duty for importation of vehicles modified for their use or assistive devices like wheelchairs, walking sticks among others.

“If you are a person with any form of disability and you want to import a vehicle or assistive devices, all are duty free,” she said.

However, she pointed out that individuals have to first register with the National Council for People with Disability (NCPWD) where all tax-relief applications will have to be reviewed before they are forwarded to the KRA's domestic tax department.

“You have to get a certificate from the National council for people with disability and then you bring it to KRA to enjoy the exemption,” Ms Ochuodho added.

Government tenders

She also pointed out that they risk missing out on Access to Government Procurement Opportunities (AGPO), the programme that facilitates persons with disability to participate in government procurement, if they are not tax compliant.

“With the AGPO program they are entitled to get 30 per cent of government tenders but you cannot get them if you are not complaint on various things with tax compliance one of them. So we wanted them to put them on an equal footing with others, probably more empowered than they are,” she said.

According to official data, as at 2010, Kenya had an estimated four million people with various forms of mental and physical disabilities, but with only a fraction holding formal jobs.

About 349,000 Kenyans had been registered as disabled as at March 2017.

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