KRA pushes for amendments on Huduma Bill to crackdown on tax cheats

In June 2021 only 5.5 million Kenyans filed their tax returns, against an adult population of 25.64 million.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and KRA Commissioner General James Githii Mburu at the 2019 annual taxpayers day

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) is requesting that Parliament makes amendments to the Huduma Bill to allow the taxman access to data in the hunt for tax evaders.

According to the National Assembly Bill tracker, the Huduma Bill, 2021 is currently on its second reading stage.

The house is expected to focus debate all aspects of the Bill, including its principles, objects and how its enactment into law is likely to affect the general citizenry.

The departmental committee also takes views from the public and other relevant organs such as KRA.

Should the taxman succeed in introducing the amendments, they will be discussed by a committee of the whole house in the Bill’s third reading.

Access to Huduma Namba will enable the taxman to identify anybody over the age of 18 who is not currently paying their fair share of taxes.

The Kenya Revenue Authority is also planning to replace the unique PIN allocated to taxpayer with the Huduma Namba.

If passed, everyone above 18 years old enrolled on Huduma Namba will be required to file tax returns.

"Huduma Namba assigned to an individual under the Huduma Act, 2021 shall serve as PIN for the purpose of tax law," reads the bill in part.

Currently, Kenyans voluntarily apply for the KRA PIN on a demand basis such as for employment, opening a bank account or starting a business, meaning that many who may not need it don't apply.

This means there are millions of Kenyans above the age of 18 who don’t have KRA PIN numbers and thus don’t file their taxes.

Children who are enrolled on Huduma Namba will automatically have their tax obligation automatically activated upon attainment of 18 years, without having to apply.

In June 2021 only 5.5 million Kenyans filed their tax returns, against an adult population of 25.64 million.

This comes as the government also plans to phase out the current ID for the Huduma Namba which will become compulsory.

KRA has been under pressure to meet its tax targets amid a recovering economy and cash crunched government.

In 2021, KRA defied all odds to surpass its revenue target after eight years, with a new record collection of Sh1.669 trillion.

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