The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has appointed a 10-member team to the Tax Appeals Tribunal.
The appointment comes after interviews conducted by JSC between May and June 2022.
In a statement to newsrooms, registrar Anne Amadi said the appointment is based on merit and performance at the interviews.
She said Key to the appointments also was regional balance and the requirement to stagger appointments.
The team includes lawyers and people in other professions with know-how on tax matters and will serve on a full-time basis.
While Ann Waithira will serve as its secretary, Rodney Adhiambo, Robert Mugambi, Grace Muthoni and Edwin Kiprono will serve in the team as members from the legal fraternity.
Delilah Kadzo, Njagi Karingo, Tanvir Mohsin, Cynthia Boundi and Kiprotich Kibet will represent other professions.
The tribunal’s work will be to hear tax appeals after a decision has been made by Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) commissioners and the party with which the decision has been made, doesn’t agree with it. If one is dissatisfied by the decision of the tribunal they can move to the High Court to challenge it.
The Tax Appeals Tribunal Act, 2013 states that tax appeals should be heard and determined within 90 days.
This was however difficult to achieve since the tax tribunal would meet after a certain period or when appointed to hear and determine tax disputes.
With a tax tribunal in place now and serving on a full-time basis, it means the ten-member team has more time to hear and conclude disputes within a short time.
The tribunal’s appointment comes on the back of a proposal by Treasury CS Ukur Yattani in April 2022 to amend the Tax Appeals Tribunal Act 2013.
In the proposal, Yattani wanted any party that is fighting KRA’s tax demands to deposit half of the amount in dispute at the Central Bank of Kenya account before escalating the matter from the Tax Tribunal to the High Court.
Yattani said that if the taxpayers won the case against KRA the amount deposited would be refunded within 30 days.
He said that the directive was aimed at driving Kenyans to consider out-of-court settlements when in dispute with KRA, which he said would solve cases faster as opposed to the court process. This move was however criticized by business lobby groups with many seeing it as a discouragement of taxpayers from suing KRA.
Currently, the courts, determine whether KRA should see the other party deposit any money as security as the case goes on and the amount to be deposited.
The proposals by Yattani were however shot down by the Finance and Planning Committee of the National Assembly after they voted to remove some of the changes proposed.