NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 29 – Senators have asked the government to re-consider exempting Kenyan athletes on paying tax locally on money earned from international races abroad.
While making their contributions during the debate on the Anti-Doping Amendment Bill on Tuesday, the Senators decried that the double taxation element was killing the athletes’ morale.
Nandi Senator Samson Cherarkey pleaded with President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene and put the matter which has been a thorny issue for a very long time to rest once and for all.
“It is so paining when our young people are running hard through their sweat and blood, they win and then they are taxed in the host countries and back at home as well and then you want them to be Brand Kenya,” he submitted.
According to the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), double taxation arises as a result of the overlapping of tax systems of different jurisdictions.
Wajir Senator Ali Abdullahi challenged KRA to come up with a workable solution that would otherwise protect the athletes from losing a huge chunk of their winnings through taxes.
He suggested that in the meantime, the money being taxed should instead be put in a fund which would cater for the athletes’ welfare in the event they encounter challenges in their careers.
“The Anti-Doping Agency which has now been formed should be in charge of this fund and ensure that all the taxes collected from the athletes’ should be deposited there and help them once they land in problem,” he said.
The double taxation headache has seen several high-profile Kenyan runners switch their nationalities in recent years.
Nominated Senator Rose Nyamunga said it was unfair that the government was inconsiderate and called for a speedy resolution on the matter.
“It is very important that taxes should be taken at point of origin, if somebody goes and competes in another country that is where the taxes should be paid. It should not be double payment of taxation,” she said.
Kenya currently has double taxation agreement with 15 countries that have set out terms and rules of how income or profits of cross border transactions are to be treated by the two countries so that the taxpayers do not end up paying tax twice on the same income.