The challenges that have become the norm with the current tax regime like the unpredictable and frequent changes to the tax law, could soon be a thing of the past if a proposed National Tax Policy 2023 which is currently before Parliament is adopted and passed by the House.
This is after the National Assembly’s departmental committee on Finance and National Planning chaired by Molo MP Kimani Kuria commenced public participation on the policy.
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Among those who appeared before the committee to give views on the new policy are the Institute for Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK) and Audit firm Deloitte East Africa, Institute of Economic Affairs and Westminster Consulting.
However, even as public participation on the crucial policy kicked off, members of the committee also expressed concern over a failure by the policy to address a number of cross-cutting issues such as double taxation and the manner in which the implementation of the proposed policy will be administered. The policy is a draft proposal of the National Treasury.
Kuria called upon the stakeholders to share their views on these matters and others comprehensively, adding that the Committee was keen to have the country attain its inaugural National Tax Policy.
“We note that the Proposed National Tax Policy has left out a number of cross-cutting issues that a policy of such nature must seek to address.
“We are for instance concerned that the proposed document has not covered issues to do with double taxation, exception of tax through conditional lending which often results in massive exploitation of our people and minimal skills transfer, as well as mechanisms for determining excise duty rates,” Kimani said.
Appearing before the Committee, the ICPAK led by the Chairperson, Phillip Kakai, said the policy is a great step in realizing the country’s dream of having an efficient and fair tax system that promotes equity in tax administration.
He added that the policy will also help achieve a predictable tax environment for businesses to operate.
Equally, ICPAK proposed that in order to broaden the tax base and enhance compliance in Kenya’s tax system, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) should leverage on technology and data management to identify potential taxpayers.
Other stakeholders who made presentations before the Committee emphasized the need to have a predictable taxation regime that would encourage investments.
They called for a mechanism to determine excise duty rate to be provided for in the policy, with a rider that the rate be subjected to public participation.
The proposed policy is set to provide guidelines to the country’s tax and tax administration reforms in the medium term. It also articulates broad guidelines for governing tax administration and the tax system in Kenya.