KRA unbowed in fight with Keroche Breweries

Keroche Breweries Chief Executive Officer Tabitha Karanja during an interview with The Standard.  [Kipsang Joseph,Standard]

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has accused Keroche Breweries Limited of collecting taxes from his consumers but failing to remit the same to the agency.

KRA was defending its decision to shut down the breweries last month over a Sh332 million tax arrears.

In a statement dated March 8, 2022, the agency accused Keroche Breweries of consistently failing to remit current taxes as well as not honouring previous payment plans.

“By allowing any Taxpayer to continue collecting taxes and not remitting the same, KRA will not be executing her mandate of ensuring that taxes that fall due are remitted in a timely manner and that all taxpayers remit their fair share of taxes,” reads an excerpt of the statement.

Additionally, KRA said it would be giving undue advantage to the manufacturer if it allowed it to sell its products without levying correct taxes or to collect taxes without remitting the amount.

“This will grant those evading taxes undue advantage over the many law-abiding taxpayers who diligently pay their taxes. Introducing distortions in the market will end up killing tax paying businesses at the expense of those who do not remit taxes.”

Keroche Breweries chief executive Tabitha Karanja had requested President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene their row with the tax collector.

She had requested for a 12-month grace period to resume paying the tax arears.

“The recent closure by KRA has drained all our resources and unfortunately if nothing is done in the next seven days, we will be forced to drain down all the beer and lay down over 250 direct employees and thousands within our nationwide distribution network,” said Karanja.

But KRA is adamant, saying it is committed to its mandate of revenue collection and trade facilitation.

The authority says it has accorded the breweries management an opportunity to comply with the tax laws.

“The Authority is determined to enhance tax compliance through improving taxpaying experience and making it better for all taxpayers,” said KRA in a statement.