Dubbed KRA M-Service, the revenue collection body has said that the app will mainly use M-PESA. This is aimed at tax transactions much easier thus cutting the cost of compliance through the removal of intermediaries.
The app will also allow taxpayers to file nil tax returns, Value Added Tax (VAT), payroll tax, excise tax and Monthly Rental Income (MRI). However, the app’s services will exclude companies that pay corporate tax.
This is mostly because KRA is first seeking to ease payment for small taxpayers like shop keepers, landlords and mini traders given M-Pesa has a daily transaction limits Sh300,000.
KRA Commissioner for Domestic Taxes Elizabeth Meyo spoke about the app saying, “KRA M-Service App will expand the tax base by onboarding the informal sector players who cannot use computers.”
Additionally, taxpayers are also able to register for Personal Identification Number (PIN) and seek Tax Compliance Certificate (TCC) readily on the app.
This is also seen as an effort by the government to bring the informal sector, also known as Jua Kali, closer to the taxation system.
The Jubilee administration had been banking on turnover taxes to plug revenue loopholes. This did lead to the reintroduction of the sales or turnover tax on one percent of revenues in January to capture Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). This sales tax is then expected to provide the KRA with a fresh avenue of raising taxes from the sector.
The small and mid-sized businesses remain the backbone of the Kenyan economy and the largest contributor of new jobs in an economy where big corporates have frozen hiring while some have shed jobs or scaled-down operations to protect profits.