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Kenya taxman goes dotcom

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 18 – Kenyans will in the next few months be able to file their tax returns and remit their taxes through the internet.

This follows plans by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to automate and modernise their systems to enhance service delivery for tax payers.

KRA Commissioner of Support Services Mumo Matemu disclosed on Friday that they were currently running pilot projects of online services such as the registration of Value Added Tax (VAT), Income Tax and Turnover Tax and hope to roll them out out by March next year.

“The design and development of various systems has been completed to set the stage for increase in the number of online services to be offered by KRA,” he said while referring to services such as the lodgement of customs entries, applications of Import Declaration Forms and enquiry of VAT status that can already be accessed electronically.

Mr Matemu further revealed that they were exploring the possibility of having motor vehicle registration, application of drivers’ licenses and employment as well as the submission of tender bids, done through the internet.

The tax collector has in the last few years undertaken several reform measures such as the implementation of an integrated tax management system to improve administration of domestic taxes.

“When we are approaching the (domestic) tax payer, we still have the VAT and the income tax systems running parallel to each other and that is why we are integrating them,” he added.

The Commissioner pointed out that some of the key objectives of the project would be to reduce the cost of compliance to tax legislation which would serve to widen the tax base.

 According to a recent survey, Kenya has the most rigid tax system in the region which locks out many people from complying with the laws. It is estimated that the country has about 850,000 active tax payers although this number could be improved with the development of conducive tax laws.

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At the same time,The Authority’s Deputy Commissioner of Finance Simon Kaloki said they had designed a platform through which all revenue collection would be channelled electronically to banks.

Called the ‘Common Cash Receipting System’, it would allow a seamless flow of information from the time a tax payer declares the intention to make payments to the time the money reaches the exchequer through the commercial banks and the Central Bank of Kenya. 

“Once this application is fully implemented, tax payers will no longer be required to carry papers to the banks because the information has already been relayed to the banks,” he explained.

He said they would contract several banks with whom they would partner with in this initiative.

The official however added that the Authority will have to launch a call centre, which should have at least 55 agents by March 2009, where customers complaints and enquires would be addressed.

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