By Mary Hearty
Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has embarked on digitalization amid the novel coronavirus pandemic to help combat the spread of the disease within the country.
The authority now offers most of its services through online platforms to the tax payers to minimize physical interactions during this difficult time.
“Digitalization of services especially during this pandemic contributes a lot in helping to flatten the COVID-19 curve since it minimizes physical interactions among the public,” said Caxton Ngeywo, Deputy Commissioner and Head of Policy and Tax Advisory Division, Domestic Taxes and Department at KRA.
Speaking during the virtual media conference hosted by Strathmore University on Tax policy and COVID-19 impact on businesses, Ngeywo emphasized that despite the socio-economic challenges experienced by tax payers amid the crisis, the rules do not change because the platform has changed.
Studies show that the corona virus responsible for the COVID-19 disease is spread from symptomatic people to others who are in close contact through respiratory droplets, by direct contact with infected persons, or by contact with contaminated objects and surfaces.
Therefore, observing social distancing through the use of information, communication and technology among businesses to run their daily operations greatly supports the spread against the virus.
For instance, taxation still applies to everyone including Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) who have converted their operations to online but are generating small income during the pandemic.
However, KRA encourages tax payers finding it difficult to cope financially during this tough time to apply for waivers online.
We encourage those who are not able to pay their taxes to apply for waivers through our website so that they can be allowed to make their payments in installments in order to avoid unnecessary penalties and interests,” said Ngeywo.
Through online engagement during this crisis, KRA has made the public more aware and sensitized them about digital taxation.
“We have done almost 50 online engagements with taxpayers since the first case of the pandemic, making them more aware and sensitizing them to embrace technology when accounting for their taxes” said Ngeywo.
Moreover, introduction of KRA App for smartphones have allowed taxpayers to account for their taxes on the go at the comfort of their homes during this crisis.