Background

In the course of filing tax returns, taxpayers find themselves in situations where they are not able to abide by the strict tax procedures and timelines both for monthly and annual tax returns. When this happens tax payers end up getting penalized either for filing taxes late (Late filing) or for not filing at all (Non filing). Once this penalties are imposed they continue to accumulate interest up to the point when they are paid up. A Taxpayers is said to have paid all the taxes when both the principal tax plus accrued interest and penalties are paid.

There are times when circumstances beyond the taxpayers control contribute to late filing or non-filing. When this happens a tax payer can apply to the commissioner for this penalties and interest to be waived or forgiven.

As such, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) issued a public notice on the 30th of June 2020 regarding the processing of tax waiver applications with a requirement that all applications for waiver of penalty and interest be properly justified and supporting evidence provided.

What is Kenya revenue authority (kra) waiver application?

Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Waiver application refers to a letter addressed to the commissioner by a tax payer stating the reasons why one needs the penalties imposed either for late filing or for non-filing of returns to be waived. The Tax Procedures Act, 2015, under Section 89(7), provides that a taxpayer may apply for waiver of penalty or interest where they meet the conditions specified therein. This conditions are:

  • That all applications for waiver of penalty and interest are properly justified and supported with proper evidence.
  • That the principal tax has been paid
  • That the taxpayer has been tax compliant on all other taxes

What is the processing of tax waiver applications?

This refers to the process of scrutinizing all the waiver applications submitted to KRA to confirm whether they are justified and whether the proper evidence was provided.

All pending waiver applications had been assigned a KRA I-tax reference number and as such all taxpayers with any pending waiver applications will be notified via email to provide supporting documentations and evidence for scrutiny. Once the notification is received a taxpayer will be allowed 30 days to respond accordingly.

A taxpayer may choose to respond directly or seek the services of a tax consultant to assist in organizing and submission of the supporting evidence. Waiver evidence that will be submitted past the deadline date or one that does not have proper supporting evidence will be rejected. If rejected, then KRA will demand all accrued penalties and interest from the taxpayer.

What Should You Do When You Get Notification To Provide Evidence In Support Waiver Processing?

DO NOT IGNORE IT!

  • Confirm to which tax category the waiver application relates to. E.g. is it VAT, VAA, Income Tax etc.
  • Take note of the notification date. You have 30 days to respond and no responses will be accepted past the deadline date
  • Compile the appropriate evidence.
  • Submit the evidence to KRA.

What supporting evidence should you provide?

The evidence to be provided will depend on the reasons laid out when applying for the tax waivers. Some of the reasons include; cash flow constraints, errors in input invoice declarations especially in VAT Auto Assessments (VAA) etc. What is important to note is to ensure no matter the reason proper justification and documentary proof is provided in a manner that is sufficient enough to enable granting of waiver.

In conclusion

Successful grant of a waiver application is a welcome move to any taxpayer. Businesses have been experiencing cash flow challenges especially post covid 19 and it is imperative that any opportunity to get tax reliefs in the form of waivers on penalties is taken advantage of. Some of this penalties and interest have accrued into thousands if not millions of shillings.

For more information regarding this alert, please contact;

Beatrice Kamau

Outsourced Services Manager

t +254 715 248882 | +254 733 533449

bkamau@mgkconsult.co.ke