Kenya Revenue Authority has sealed a major milestone in its organizational transformation journey, with the registration of its 2 millionth iTax client .
As at midnight Tuesday (30th June), the KRA’s, taxpayer recruitment drive, anchored on online tax filings, had managed to register approximately 2 million iTax users heralding a new dawn in the use of information technology systems for tax administration.
The number is however expected to inch up higher as the filling deadline has now been extended by an extra two days to officially close on midnight Sunday 5th July. Taxpayers, who are yet to register on the platform will enjoy a penalty free reprieve, for returns that will be submitted before the new deadline.
By law, domestic taxpayers, failing to submit their returns by this Friday, face the risk of being surcharged a Kshs 1,000 minimum penalty or an annual tax claim calculated at the rate of 5% of the net tax due annually by KRA.
iTax was first piloted two years ago and commissioned mid last year to provide a fully-integrated and automated solution for administration of domestic taxes. From a low of 5,000 users in January 2013, the registration of 2 million plus iTax platform users has been rapidly undertaken within the last two months.
Speaking during a prime time Business TV show last evening, KRA Commissioner General, Mr. John Njiraini, said the rapid registration program focusing on a strict tax returns filing on the iTax platform had managed to net a daily average of 50,000 new users last month. At the same time, more than 118,000 tax payers had also managed to file in their manual tax returns with the number of iTax users expected to grow by more than 4million as at July next year.
According to KRA Commissioner General, Mr. John Njiraini, The iTax platform rollout heralds a new dawn in tax administration and particularly as relates to tax returns filing efficiency. This is the first time in Kenya’s history, that such a technology based solution has been activated as part of the ongoing tax and revenue reform programs at KRA.
Fresh from surpassing the Kshs 1trillion Exchequer Revenue collection mark last month, KRA will heavily be banking on information Technology systems, to seal existing revenue collection loopholes.
Through such technology systems, the authority, is currently enhancing its capacity to implement tax modernization and revenue administration reforms. Such reforms, will cover the end to end digitization of revenue collection, enhanced taxpayer recruitment and education program, strategic tax audits and risk profiling.
Mr. Njiraini also confirmed Further efforts to adopt a simplified tax regime for the informal sector, are also underway. “All these are measures designed to streamline tax administration systems, improve efficiency in tax collection and enhance taxpayer services while reducing the cost of compliance,” he reiterated.
To guarantee tax administration efficiency, KRA has migrated in entirety, a variety of its services to the iTax platform, including PIN registration, Tax Compliance Certificate application and issuance and the filing and processing of VAT refunds.
Electronic filing of tax returns and payment services are also available for all taxes, meaning that there no longer exists the need for any taxpayer to physically visit KRA or even their bank to transact tax business.
iTax run up
In the run up to the now extended iTax filing deadline, on Tuesday evening, KRA had been conducting hands on training and sensitization programmes through tax education programmes that have been running countrywide to support taxpayers register on iTax.
KRA has also partnered with appointed licensed and trained intermediary agents who assist taxpayers register and file their returns through the iTax system.
Currently, KRA has six support centers and has a client service presence in 22 Huduma Centers countrywide. The iTax System provides an integrated view of a taxpayer. The system was rolled out in October 2013 in an effort to increase efficiency and ensure better compliance with tax laws.
The iTax System gives taxpayers the luxury of filing their returns or seeking KRA services, from the comfort of their homes or offices at any hour; day or night.