Revenue law passed to protect taxpayers in Nyeri
According to changes to the Revenue Administration Bill, taxpayers will no longer be required to keep books of account for seven years.
“A revenue payer may be required to keep such records as is reasonably necessary to determine their liability in paying taxes,” the law states.
Revenue officers will also be expected to give taxpayers a seven-day notice, in writing, requesting the records, unlike before when they would walk in and demand them without notice.
Initially, those who failed to produce the records would be slapped with a Sh100,000 fine.
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However, the fine for those who fail to produce such records after they have been requested will now pay Sh50,000 fine.
The county revenue director will be required to give taxpayers notice to defend themselves against any fines that may be imposed on them.
The new law requires that a taxpayer is given a chance to attend a hearing and give evidence on any fines that may be imposed on them.
“Failure to comply with the notice and attend the hearing, the person will be found guilty of an offence punishable by a fine not exceeding Sh50,000,” the law states.
This was the first time, in four years, an amendment was made to the law that has been in force since 2014.
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The finance and economic planning committee chairman, Anatasio Wakabaire, told the county assembly that the law would ensure the rights of taxpayers were protected even as it empowered revenue officers.
“This law was skewed in favour of the revenue and enforcement officers, who would often harass traders as they demanded rates and taxes. The amendments will protect residents from harassment by revenue and enforcement officers,” he stated.
Revenue officers will still have the powers to gain access any premises to inspect goods, records and open packages and confiscate goods.
However under the new law, the revenue officers cannot keep the goods for more than 60 days and should return them to the taxpayer.
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“Prior to the new law, traders often had their goods auctioned by revenue officers after they were confiscated. This will no longer be the case,” Mr Wakabaire said.
He added: "While the law had secured the powers of revenue officers, collection of taxes should not infringe on the rights of residents.
“We want a progressive county that recognises that taxpayers have their rights as well even as we find ways to increase our internal revenue to Sh1 billion,” he said.
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