Every year, the Kenya Revenue Authority dedicates one month to celebrate and appreciate citizens for diligently paying taxes. This year, KRA will celebrate the annual Taxpayers’ Month from October 7–31. The month is characterised by a series of activities geared towards honouring and appreciating taxpayers for the honourable role they play in supporting revenue collection.
The Taxpayers' Month is not a new concept. The event started 16 years ago, in 2003, when KRA held its first Taxpayers’ Day that was later followed by the first Taxpayers’ Week in 2004.
The Taxpayers' Week became an annual activity and was expanded to an entire month in 2015, when KRA’s Transformation Agenda was implemented. The rationale then was to dedicate a day or week for KRA to give back to society in appreciation of its support. Top taxpayers in various categories are feted for their exemplary performance on compliance.
This year, the Taxpayers’ Month is themed ‘Promoting Transformative Partnerships for Tax Administration in the Global Age’. KRA strives to build partnerships with key stakeholders from every sector, with the Kenyan populace as a whole being the focus.
The event is also intended to foster a culture of compliance by appreciating the role played by each stakeholder in the tax administration processes.
The Taxpayers’ Month kicks off with the Customer Service Week from October 7-11. Customer Service Week is a celebration of the importance of customer service and the people who serve and support customers daily.
The theme for this year’s customer service week is ‘Behind the Smile’. During the week taxpayers can look forward to scheduled customer visits by KRA Board of Directors, commissioners and staff, as KRA seeks to express gratitude for the support accorded by Kenyans.
Another key highlight of the month is the Fifth Annual Tax Summit on October 16-17 at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre. The summit seeks to feed into these goals by driving public and international participation in discussions geared towards providing solutions for enhancing and supporting KRA’s role in Tax and Customs Administration. This year’s theme is 'Tax Simplification and Inclusivity to Facilitate Trade and Economic Transformation'.
A key area of focus will be the first plenary session, which will focus on taxation of the digital economy and with the debate on tax evasion rife, participants will want to attend the session on Alternative Dispute Resolution. Those who wish to attend need to register on the KRA Tax Summit website.
Healthcare is one of the pillars of KRA’s Corporate Social Responsibility policy. The policy heavily invests in the well-being of children through the creation of a cheerful, recuperation-friendly and healthy environment for the young ones in selected health facilities across the country. During the Taxpayers’ Month, KRA usually launches or initiates its key CSR activities, including the launch of health projects. This year, the healthcare initiatives earmarked for implementation include; refurbishment of the male ward at Naivasha Level 5 Hospital and the refurbishment of the maternity ward at Kisumu Level 4 Hospital.
The Taxpayers’ Month presents a unique opportunity for Kenyans and KRA to acknowledge the symbiotic nature of their relationship. One simply cannot do without the other. In recent years, various strides have been made to increase efficiency in service delivery, from the establishment of one-stop border posts to enhance cross border trade and various enhancements to iTax since its unveiling, which has made paying and filing efficient and faster.
KRA boasts of increased revenue collection. In 2018-19 cumulative revenue collection totalled Sh1.58 trillion, representing a growth of Sh160.691 billion or 11.3 per cent from Sh1.419 trillion collected in 2017-18. Of these, domestic revenues accounted for Sh1.05 trillion while Customs revenue accounted for Sh525.337 billion. The collection is indeed remarkable. With various initiatives undertaken by the authority to enhance compliance, KRA will definitely achieve the revenue target.
This and every October is a chance for taxpayers who have previously been hesitant about approaching the “Taxman” to come forward and be heard. KRA, through the Commissioner General, has repeatedly debunked the myth that the revenue collection body is a bogeyman that Kenyans must fear and one who is coming to take their hard-earned money.
By Grace Wandera
Grace is the Deputy Commissioner for Marketing & Communication at KRA.