1.3 million Kenyans File Tax Returns Ahead of Deadline

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Some 1.3 million individuals have filed their tax returns with less than a month left to the June 30 deadline, signalling a new record.

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) yesterday said the compliance was a 400,000 improvement on tax returns filed between January and April last year.

KRA reported that 2.4 million workers and businesses filed their returns by end of June last year, meaning thousands of businessmen and employees failed to do so.

The taxman has also extended its working hours to facilitate the typical last minute rush as individuals seek to beat the deadline.

The centres will also open on Saturdays between 8 am and 1 pm. The iTax Support Centres — which provide guidance to those making returns electronically — will open 7 am to 9 pm on weekdays and 8 am to 1 pm on Saturdays.

The taxman has availed services at 38 service centres and the 51 KRA Huduma Centres countrywide.

“Taxpayers who encounter challenges in filing returns are encouraged to reach out through the KRA national contact centre for more assistance,” said KRA in a statement yesterday.

Tax cheats

Filing of tax returns has emerged as one of the taxman’s favoured avenues to net tax cheats and grow the income tax segment as the agency struggles to meet collection targets.

Kenyan law requires anyone with a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to file returns annually — including a nil return.

Kenya in 2015 raised the penalty for failure to file returns to Sh20,000 from Sh1,000, but the enhanced fines took effect last year.

In 2016, the number of taxpayers registered on the KRA’s online platform -iTax- doubled to four million from July 2015’s figure of 1.6 million.

Most taxpayers wait until the last minute to file their returns as was seen on June 29, 2016, with 128,000 Kenyans registered on iTax filing returns on a single day.

The taxman collected Sh1.365 trillion in the year ended June 2017, falling short of the targeted Sh1.44 trillion set by the Treasury.

KRA expects its collection as at the end of June 2018 to hit the 1.7 trillion mark.

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