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Success for KRA tax returns system

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 29 – The process of filing tax returns should be fully online in the next two years, according to the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Commissioner General Michael Waweru, after the test trial proved successful.

He said on Thursday that the paperless process, which began with a pilot programme in December last year, has seen 133 returns filed successfully so far.

“It is this achievement that has given me the motivation to open the online taxpayer registration service to the general public as from today (Thursday),” said Mr Waweru.

Speaking during the launch of the e-filing and e-registration components of the KRA online services, the Commissioner General said it would be possible for taxpayers to file returns for withholding VAT online from the beginning of next week.

“I know this is where most of the young people who are anxious, who are enthusiastic about filing returns will get the benefit, because they will access the return and file it electronically,” Mr Waweru said.

“They don’t have to come here to pick the return they don’t have to bring it here; they will file it electronically from June which is the peak filing season.”

Mr Waweru said that the process had been fully secured and it would further be possible to pay for it online by June this year.

He revealed that the process would allow feedback on taxpayer’s transactions, as well as a reduction in errors.

“As for excise duty, we target end of March (2009). This means electronic filing of excise duty returns will be possible from their beginning of April this year. The same applies to P.A.Y.E.,” he said.

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The commissioner reaffirmed that the tax body is not going back on this project and called on tax payers to embrace technology.

“A number of people resisted Simba (online clearing system) but as you know, see now, it has become a very effective way of clearing goods at the port,” Mr Waweru said.
However speaking at the same function, Kenya Private Sector Alliance Chairman Steven Smith noted that KRA needed to keenly assess the issue of the piling VAT refunds, as it embarked on this process.

“We are looking forward to the electronic side of it. We are also looking forward to the refund side of it where many of you in this room I know are due for refunds. And those amounts are mounting,” Mr Smith said.

The chairman revealed that some very well known companies have not seen refunds since December.

He questioned why the President’s directive in October last year that VAT refunds be remitted in at least 60 days, had not been seen through.

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