Nearly four years ago, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) introduced the iTax Platform to boost the efficiency of online services to enhance compliance.
Like other technology backed solutions, people thought it would lead to job redundancies, leaving thousands out of employment, but that is not the case.
Today, however, the country is witnessing a completely different scenario as enterprising youth have leveraged the platform to make an income.
With the tax season ending in a week’s time, several taxpayers are flocking internet cafes to file their tax returns and the entrepreneurs are making a kill out of it.
Kevin Mbugua who operates a cybercafé in Nanyuki town charges up to Sh2, 000 to help individuals file their tax returns.
“People trust us to help them file their tax returns and for the trouble we charge some fee, helping us to keep the business afloat,” said Mr Mbugua.
He adds, “We help people to get their tax certificates and also to apply for their tax PINS on the iTax platform.”
Across the country, especially in rural areas, several enterprising youths are able to make ends meet by helping the old people and computer illiterate individuals to access online KRA services. You would be forgiven to say that iTax Platform is the boon of the internet outlets for rural youth in Kenya.
“Internet cafes have morphed into government service points, enabling rural folks to conveniently access critical online government services. Today, you don’t have to withstand the long queues in government offices to access services like driving license renewal or income tax filing,” said Mr Paul Ojil, an IT Consult in Nairobi.
Interestingly, there is now an online tax filing site, Ushuru.co.ke, that is dedicated to helping individuals, both employed and unemployed to file their individual tax returns at a cost. For their trouble, the site charges Sh2,500 and Sh3,500 for employed and self-employed returns, payable via M-PESA.
While KRA doesn’t endorse the site, it fills a gap, by helping individuals to comply with tax filing requirements.
Speaking recently, during an interview with one of the local radio stations, KRA Chief Manager in Charge of Tax Payers services Judith Njagi said that the Revenue Authority’s focus is to ensure all the taxpayers comply by paying their taxes and filing returns before the June 30th deadline.
“The Authority’s focus is to ensure that we have all the taxpayers file their returns. We have an efficient iTax platform and as well as on-site filing assistance that the Authority has been extending to organizations countrywide,” Ms Njagi said.
Over the past few years, KRA has witnessed a significant improvement in the number of individuals filing their tax returns, for both resident and non-resident categories, by the deadline.
KRA expects more than four million taxpayers to file their returns on ITax system by June 30 2019.
Last year, over 3.2 million taxpayers filed their returns in time through the iTax system, according to the taxman.
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