Kenya Revenue Authority Commissioner General John Njiraini
The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has announced a 30-day grace period for taxpayers to update their tax status, failure to which they will face penalties.
KRA had earlier threatened it would deactivate personal identification numbers (PINs) of non-compliant taxpayers beginning Thursday last week, a move that could have blocked millions of Kenyans from accessing critical governmental services.
In May, the taxman said those who failed to file their annual returns for 2016 by the June 30 deadline, would face a fine of five per cent of the tax due or a maximum of Sh20,000.
On Friday, however, KRA, which has remained under huge pressure from the Treasury to collect more taxes notified those who had failed to file their returns to do so by end of September.
“This is to inform you that, your return for obligation Income Tax - Resident Individual and period from: 01/01/2016 to 31/12/2016 is not received by Kenya Revenue Authority by the due date 30/06/2017,” said KRA in a notice.
“Kindly submit your return within next 30 days ending on 01/10/2017. Failure to submit return will attract penalty/interest.”
The notice comes barely a week after the KRA declared it would effect the controversial plan to delist tax defaulters as earlier announced.
In a notice dated Tuesday last week, the taxman maintained it would de-register all taxpayers who had not filed their returns and those who had not migrated their profiles to the online platform starting September 1, in a bid to smoke out tax cheats.
“KRA has noted that there are taxpayers who have not migrated their PINs into iTax while others, who are already on iTax, are either not filing or are filing nil or no returns,” the agency said last Tuesday in a public notice.
“KRA, therefore, notifies the general public that those who have not updated their PINs in iTax should do so by 31 August 2017 and commence filing immediately.”
However, legal experts had vowed it would resist plans to deactivate non-compliant taxpayers’ PINs, terming it illegal.
“KRA does not issue PINs to citizens as a favour but as provided for in law, in the same way the Department of Registration of Persons issues Identity Cards or Passports,” Nairobi lawyer Nashon Aluoka said.
“It is an instrument that every adult needs to transact the business of life and meet their obligations as citizens and can only be taken away as provided for in law or through a court order,” he argued.
All Kenyan citizens, including those in the Diaspora are required by law to file a tax return every year. Those with no income in Kenya are not exempt from filing, and should instead file a "Nil Return" which indicates they have not earned any income in Kenya for that particular year.