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Tech check: KRA among leading global tax collection agencies

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Kenya has been cited among countries that have made it easier to pay taxes. The report lists Kenya alongside Botswana; Brunei Darussalam; El Salvador; India; Indonesia; Lithuania; Maldives; Morocco; New Zealand; Philippines; Rwanda; Saudi Arabia; Uruguay; Uzbekistan; Vietnam and Zambia as one of the 16 leading global economies that have introduced or enhanced systems for filing and paying taxes online. This, in the latest World Bank Group’s Doing Business 2018: Reforming to Create Jobs report.

KRA has in recent years sustained a campaign to make paying taxes easier by implementing an online platform, iTax, for filing and paying corporate income tax and the standards levy. Last year, the iTax platform saw 5.73 million taxpayers registered on iTax compared to 4.2 million enrolled the previous year.

Last year, the most common feature of reforms focused on the implementation or enhancement of electronic filing and payment systems. Kenya was among 16 other economies which introduced or enhanced systems for filing and paying taxes online.

Technologized KRA

KRA has been undertaking comprehensive modernization of its revenue administration structures and systems including the strategic focus on customer facilitation rather than the traditional enforcement model.

In addition to iTax, other key technology-driven revenue administration initiatives include: the Integrated Customs Management System (iCMS), Cargo Scanner Management Solution, Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking System (RECTS) as well as the Excisable Goods Management System (EGMS) among others. In this year’s report, Kenya was also cited for introducing or improving electronic submission and processing of documents for imports.

Through these reforms, KRA has joined the ranks of the modern revenue administrations which not only focus on revenue performance but also endeavor to attain operational efficiency, enhance compliance and improve service delivery.

“Due to improvements made to their respective electronic customs platforms, Cape Verde and Kenya both reduced import documentary compliance time by 24 hours. Brazil made trading across borders faster by enhancing its electronic system— integrating customs, tax and administrative agencies—reducing import documentary compliance time by 72 hours,” the Doing Business Report confirms.

According to a communiqué from the World Bank, governments in 119 economies including Kenya, carried out 264 business reforms in the past year to create jobs, attract investment and become more competitive. In most economies, taxes are the main source of revenue to fund public spending on education, health care, public transport, infrastructure and social programs, among others.

Following the adoption of these new systems, KRA successfully managed to collect Kshs 1.365 Trillion, against a target collection of Kshs 1.43 Trillion last year, representing a 95.4% performance rate and a 13.8% growth.

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Melissa Daniels
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