A few days to June 30 every year, one would be forgiven for mistaking Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) offices for polling stations owing to the long, winding queues of taxpayers trying to beat the deadline of filing tax returns.
According to the tax law of the land, the KRA systems are open for annual returns filing as early as January 1 to June 30 every year. Why most taxpayers prefer to rush to the taxman’s offices in the 11th hour is still a puzzle.
Recently, the taxman issued a statement urging all taxpayers who are yet to file their annual tax returns to do so early and not wait till the end of June. Unlike some years back when filing returns was done manually, taxpayers have since been saved the hassle of handing in hard copies of their returns at KRA offices.
The iTax platform has progressively made it easier for taxpayers to file their returns from any part of the world and at any time of the day. Through progressive enhancements, the platform has even made it easier and more convenient for taxpayers with employment income only to file their returns.
This category, which constitutes the bulk of individual taxpayers, can now file their tax returns in a two-step process using an auto-populated online return. In the past year, tax compliance had received a major boost following the imposition of a punitive penalty for non-filers of Sh20,000.
As much as the penalty has since been revised to Sh2,000, this should not justify non-compliance on the basis that the penalty is now ‘manageable’. As the taxman said in the statement, filing of a tax returns is one of the tenets of issuance of a tax compliance certificate (TCC).
It is important to note that TCCs have become crucial documents in many day-to-day businesses. For instance, it is a significant document when seeking employment, applying for a tender or when running for public office, among others. It is therefore important for all taxpayers to heed KRA’s call to file early annual returns to avoid last minute inconveniences.