KRA should scale up iTax platform reach at grassroots

Thursday December 7 2017

Unlike in previous years, when tax returns were filed manually, taxpayers have been filing online on the iTax platform since 2014.

This is, indeed, a great milestone. Further, online filing of returns became mandatory from August 2015.

Taxation is an issue of fundamental importance for the economic and social development of any country.

According to the Kenya Revenue Authority’s new Tax Procedures Act 2015, late filing attracts a penalty of Sh20,000 — up from the paltry Sh1,000.

Low-income earners form the bulk of the taxpayers. But this group faces challenges such as illiteracy, digital divide and language barrier when accessing the KRA portal.

This is a major hindrance to KRA meeting its targets since most of these taxpayers don’t have sufficient knowledge.

It takes more effort to educate and enlighten the low-class citizens on why, how and where to file their tax returns.

It is high time KRA introduced Kiswahili on the iTax platform to tap into the ‘unreached’ taxpayer base.

This can be done through sensitisation in the grassroots by Kiswahili-speaking facilitators.

Not only will the use of the national language result in an upsurge of tax returns but the taxpayers will be in touch with their tax obligations and its relevance and, therefore, participate in nation building.

Isaac Isavwa Sore,Nairobi.