Getting tax compliance certificate now critical

Tuesday October 4 2016

The KRA in Nakuru. PHOTO | FILE

Nakuru residents at KRA offices during the launch of an iTax support centre in the county on September 2, 2015. PHOTO | FILE 

By GRACE WANDERA

Are you a Kenyan looking for employment or changing business openings? Are your job application documents in order? Well, you might need to include a tax compliance certificate among them.

This document has turned out to be a very important part of your application either for those seeking new openings or those seeking to change employers.

In Kenya the certificate is issued by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) upon request by a taxpayer as proof of his or her compliance with remittances within a 12-month period.

In other words, this is like the certificate of good conduct issued by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI).
The document has become so vital that it is now one of the requirements employers ask for when hiring new staff while for companies applying for tenders especially with the government agencies, a TCC is very crucial.

Employers in Kenya are keen on recruiting staff who have no tax arrears. In the same light, no company or organisation would like to transact with another that has pending issues with the revenue authority.

The good thing is that KRA has made easier the application and issuance of this document through its iTax platform.
If we could turn back the wheel before 2014, precisely before the launch of iTax, those seeking clearance would visit a tax station — a place where a taxpayer’s PIN profile is captured during registration — to get the TCC application form or download it from the authority’s website.

Despite the difficulties involved in accessing application forms, the taxpayer would then go through the rigorous process of submitting the TCC application at the station after filling it.

Tiresome

This process involved taking time off the daily schedule to follow up on the TCC. It meant conducting a visit at the tax station and awaiting the approval process.

The compliance manager would then verify the compliance status of the taxpayer who would either get the certificate or be asked to clear the arrears in his records which rendered him non-compliant.

You will agree with me that the whole exercise was tiresome and not time conscious especially if a taxpayer had to travel to his tax station to apply for the certificate and collect it.

However, iTax launched in 2014, was a saviour, easing all the troubles caused by the inconvenience of traveling to the tax station, wasting so much time and resources trying to get the TCC.

Through iTax, taxpayers now apply for compliance certificates from the comfort of their homes or workplaces. This, they do through their mobile phones or computers connected to the Internet.

An applicant who obtained his PIN before iTax was launched needs to update the PIN before applying for the TCC.
Applicants who apply for PINs through iTax are automatically put on the platform. To apply for a TCC through iTax, one must log into their account on the platform by entering the PIN and password in fields provided.

Take note that as a taxpayer one must update his iTax profile with a working email address in case it is different from the one used during PIN application. This makes receipt of all communication from iTax feasible.

To track your TCC application, use the serial number in the format KRA2016…, sent through the acknowledgment receipt.
Your application ones received at your tax station, verification of tax status starts immediately, and this informs the issuance of the TCC.

To verify your compliance status, the taxman checks whether you file returns dully, your ledger is also checked to ensure you have no arrears.
If you are compliant, you are issued with a compliance certificate. Conversely, the taxman declines to issue a TCC in case of tax arrears or your returns are not dully filed.

The TCC is then sent by email after verification. The system is quite convenient; it allows you to apply for a TCC anytime of the day at your own convenience and from the comfort of your home.

In the event that a taxpayer’s request is turned down, a mail to that effect is sent detailing the reasons for the rejection.

Remember, you do not have to wait until someone asks you for the certificate. Apply today. If not today, do it right now.

The author is the Marketing and Communication Deputy Commissioner at the Kenya Revenue Authority