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High Court rules hiring of KRA paramilitary-trained officers as unconstitutional

KRA's Revenue Service Assistants were hired to support tax compliance

KRA's Revenue Service Assistants

The High Court has ruled the employment of 1,406 Revenue Service Assistants by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) as unconstitutional.

The ruling comes as a result of a petition filed by Peter Kabinga Orogo on October 12, 2023, which challenged the recruitment process.

Orogo's petition raised several concerns, notably highlighting that 55.8% of those recruited belonged to only two communities, a stark deviation from the demographic representation outlined in the latest population census.

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In August 2023, the tax authority made the strategic decision to enlist military-trained officers to assist in identifying and addressing tax-related issues.

The 1,400 officers successfully completed a two-month training program at the Recruits Training College in Eldoret, officially qualifying them as revenue service assistants.

On Monday, September 25, KRA detailed the specific responsibilities that these officers will undertake in their role which include verification of tax details and facilitation of online registration of businesses.

The officers are responsible for supporting compliance with TIMS/eTIMS regulations as well as supporting compliance with excise regulations.

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  1. Facilitate online registration of trading businesses,
  2. Verify taxpayer details,
  3. Support compliance with TIMS/eTIMS regulations,
  4. Support compliance with Excise regulations,
  5. Data collection.

One notable aspect of this initiative is that RSAs will provide on-site facilitation to taxpayers, requiring physical visits to taxpayer premises across the country.

To address concerns about the authenticity of these officers, the KRA has put in place measures to verify their identity.

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RSAs will carry KRA staff identification cards and will be easily identifiable by their uniforms. In addition, the public can use USSD code *572# or access the KRA Thibitisha service on the KRA website to authenticate the credentials of KRA staff.

The deployment of military officers is among KRA's recent measures to curb tax cheats and increase the revenue collection by the taxman.

KRA's efforts to adopt business-friendly approaches have yielded positive results according to the latest KRA reports.

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In the 2022/2023 financial year, the authority recorded a remarkable 6.7% increase in revenue collection, collecting Sh2.166 trillion compared to Sh2.031 trillion in the previous year.

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