We Need to Establish a Culture of Filing Income Tax Returns Early

BLOG 13/06/2018

The Income Tax Act requires that a taxpayer does a self-assessment of their income, completes the relevant return form and files with the Commissioner on or before the stipulated date. A return is the primary document a taxpayer uses to declare their taxable position to the Authority. The different types of returns are outlined in Part VIII of the Income Tax Act, CAP 470, with their respective timelines clearly stipulated.

KRA has been leveraging on technology to improve client service and promote voluntary compliance, which will ultimately increase revenue collection. Since August 2015, filing of all returns is done electronically through the iTax platform. Online returns filing offers more than the convenience of time. It allows the system to auto-compute the tax due against one?s income which reduces the chances of errors. The online system also offers better information security as one has real time access to their current basic information (which can be amended through a self service option anytime); tax filing; and tax payment records. Such was not the case in the manual era where you had to visit a KRA office to confirm your tax filing status; payment history; and any payment due. The system has greatly minimized taxpayer direct interaction with tax officials, which aims at ensuring increased transparency and equity in handling of tax matters. For employees, it has offered additional benefits for them to check employer remittances of the monthly Pay As You Earn (PAYE) deductions through their individual iTax ledgers.

Taxpayers may file both resident and non-resident individual income tax returns from as early as January following the year of income. Early filing of returns gives one the comfort of seeking help if needed from a variety of KRA customer touch points, without the inconveniences of last minute rush. To enhance the user experience, KRA has developed a pre-populated Income Tax return for use by Taxpayers with employment income only. The return enables population of employees? payment and tax details as declared by the respective employer(s) in the previous year?s PAYE returns. The taxpayer when filing the Income Tax return will confirm the details already pre-populated with what is provided in their p9 forms issued by their employer(s). For those with additional sources of income other than employment, a return has been provided in iTax to allow for the declaration and submission of the Income Tax return incorporating all these sources of income.

To enhance taxpayer outreach, KRA has set up a comprehensive support network country-wide including our National Contact Centre which can be accessed through calls, email and social media. iTax-related services are currently available in all the 44 Huduma Centres and 24 iTax support centres spread across the country. KRA?s main focus is improving the customer?s experience by empowering users with accessible support systems, simplified tax processes and improved tax and iTax knowledge. The taxpayers? feedback on their experience when interacting with iTax is critical. KRA has therefore provided a ?site survey? which prompts feedback from taxpayers following their interaction with any iTax process. This then informs system enhancements that are undertaken regularly in order to ensure improved customer experience. A ?Report a Problem? link is also provided on the iTax Portal for users to communicate any challenges encountered in the use of the online facility. KRA has a dedicated team responsible for resolving and providing support on the issues reported through this facility.

The Authority will continue to leverage on technology to improve the taxpayer customer experience, simplify business processes, lower tax administration costs, take advantage of the iTax data to broaden the tax base, seal tax evasion loopholes and improve tax compliance levels.

The bulk of taxpayers still tend to file their returns in the last two weeks before the deadline of 30th June every year. KRA is currently engaging employers to encourage them to release P9 forms to enable their employees complete their annual returns in time. With all the improvements in tax filing and support available, there are few excuses or none at all, to delay filing your returns early enough.

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