For many years, tax returns filing was never a walk in the park. Back in the day, the exercise was manual and taxpayers would submit hard copy documents of their tax returns to Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) offices in person. This would definitely take quite some time, especially those who rush on the eleventh hour to beat the deadline.
In 2014, KRA, through the introduction of the iTax platform, made substantial efforts to automate the exercise as well as other facets of tax administration with a view to enhancing efficiency.
Although most taxpayers experienced a great deal of challenges with the new system back then, the contemporary iTax and the one we had in 2014 are operationally and efficiently different.
Periodic enhancements on the system have made the exercise, whose mere thought of its complicated demands would have evoked a severe headache back then, to be a walk in the park.
Thanks to these enhancements, for example, taxpayers with employment as the only source of income can now file their tax returns without having to download an excel sheet in a more simplified process.
Despite the huge traffic of taxpayers in the system as the deadline edges closer, the system has been very stable and robust too. KRA officers have also been helpful in their various offices.
KRA has also enhanced self-service functions on iTax such as password resets. Taxpayers are no longer required to provide security questions and answers to reset a password. The reset password function is now simpler and instantaneous.
Some years back, it was not strange to find a taxpayer in a long meandering queue around mid-June waiting to be assisted with a password reset. The KRA offices at Times Tower, were a chaotic place where most Kenyans with most trivial needs for assistance would wait impatiently with furrowed brows for an overstretched personnel to lend them an ear.
As a result of these enhancements, as well as extensive taxpayer education through various channels, the long queues that would be characteristic of taxman’s offices at a time like this have become a thing of the past. This has saved taxpayers a lot of time.
The efforts made by KRA are evident and commendable. Given that simplicity is infinite, the taxman should not stop at that but explore more ways of making the process even simpler.