KRA Commissioner General John Njiraini announced that customs service collected Sh80.9 billion against the target of Sh79 billion, an increase of 31.6 percent compared to the same period last year, while total domestic taxes collected stood at Sh146.6 billion against a target of 144.8 billion representing a 26.7 percent growth.
“Large taxpayers’ office increased by 29.1 percent, medium and small taxpayers by 21.6 percent compared to same period last year,” he said.
Njiraini attributed the growth to better import traffic and VAT improvement that grew at two percent resulting from enhanced compliance interventions.
“The very strong growth statistics are partly attributable to the fact that last year we had a depressed quarter, in the same period last year custom overall growth was only 1.7 percent – practically flat,” he said.
Njiraini said a positive effect is expected from implementation of the VAT Act 2013 and reversal of excise tax remission on containerized beer that came to effect from October 1.
“We are also working on some reforms that include i-Tax system that is currently available for registration, filing, generation of payment authorisation and 15 banks have enrolled to offer these services,” he said.
He said that activation of Excise Management System with track and trace capability has been completed with stamps orders now processed and activated online.
He said that 50 officers are currently undergoing training on market surveillance operations.
The authority is also planning to roll out a Short Message Service (SMS) that will include query on logbook and driving licence status, custom entry status, PIN validation, tax compliance certificate validation and clearing agent status.
The service is undergoing pilot run and will be available on all local mobile networks.
“Strong recovery in the 1st quarter provides renewed momentum and we will continue to enhance compliance initiatives focusing on VAT, Customs Valuation and Verification among others,” he said.
He said the authority is geared to deliver on national expectations through focused and innovative interventions.
This comes a few weeks after the government passed a controversial VAT Act that saw basic food commodities including milk and bread taxed, raising a huge public outcry.
However Njiraini confirmed that the Act has no impact on the collection in the period under review.
Soon after the Act went into force, a packet of milk and a loaf of bread were retailing at an average of Sh60 each.
President Uhuru Kenyatta later declared that milk and bread were non-taxable before traders went back to the initial prices.
In the last financial year, the tax man missed the revenue collection target by Sh85.9 billion against an initial target of Sh845.4 billion.
Critics have also advised KRA to think of other ways of hitting its tax collection target rather than by taxing basic commodities.
Landlords are also being targeted by the tax collector and they are supposed to be remitting taxes from their properties.