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 ofÂ taxpayersÂ trying to beat the deadline ofÂ filingÂ taxÂ returns.
According to the tax law of the land, theÂ KRAÂ systems are open forÂ annualÂ returnsÂ filingÂ asÂ earlyÂ as January 1 to June 30 every year. Why mostÂ taxpayersÂ prefer to rush to the taxmanâ€™s offices in the 11th hour is still a puzzle.
Recently, the taxman issued a statement urging allÂ taxpayersÂ who are yet toÂ fileÂ theirÂ annualÂ taxÂ returnsÂ to do soÂ earlyÂ and not wait till the end of June. Unlike some years back whenÂ filingÂ returnsÂ was done manually,Â taxpayersÂ have since been saved theÂ hassleÂ of handing in hard copies of theirÂ returnsÂ atÂ KRAÂ offices.
The iTax platform has progressively made it easier forÂ taxpayersÂ toÂ fileÂ theirÂ returnsÂ 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 forÂ taxpayersÂ with employment income only toÂ fileÂ theirÂ returns.
This category, which constitutes the bulk of individualÂ taxpayers, can nowÂ fileÂ their taxÂ returnsÂ in a two-step process using an auto-populated onlineÂ 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, thisÂ shouldÂ not justify non-compliance on the basis that the penalty is now â€˜manageableâ€™. As the taxman said in the statement,Â filingÂ of a taxÂ returnsÂ 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 allÂ taxpayersÂ toÂ heedÂ KRAâ€™sÂ callÂ toÂ fileÂ earlyÂ annualÂ returnsÂ toÂ avoidÂ lastÂ minuteÂ inconveniences.Â