The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has doubled its efforts in reforming the tax environment towards ensuring a more friendly and participatory regime. This is as detailed in the Authority’s 6th Corporate plan, a blueprint detailing KRAs goals for three years from 2015/16 – 2017/18, a period during which the focus shifts from enforcement to Building Taxpayer Trust through facilitation.
The achievement of KRAs revenue growth goals is centered on building trustful relationships as the key driving force to sustain tax compliance enhancement. The journey to this goal is based on four strategic objectives which include:
- Enhancing revenue mobilization by broadening the revenue base , enhancing complince and combating tax evasion and fraud using intelligence and risk based forward looking enforcement,
- Strengthening revenue administrative capacity and enhancing transparency and fairness through organizational change and business process optimization,
- Creating a staff establishment that is professional, courteous, accessible and active in solving customer problems,
- Enabling business by leveraging on technology to achieve full electronic customer service and enhance operational efficiency and service delivery in line with the best practice, to achieve high customer satisfaction levels.
As part of building trust among taxpayers, the taxpayers week has since 2015 been expanded to taxpayers month to widen its scope and reach. One of the Taxpayers Month Activities is the Annual Tax Summit. The Annual tax summit provides a platform for taxpayers and key stakeholders to participate in a dialogue with a view of providing solutions to some of the knotty challenges in the tax environment.
The Annual Tax Summit, 2016 will be held for a period of three days to allow for a detailed discussion and will bring together global tax experts, Academia, Private sector players, and senior Government and KRA officials.
In today’s globalized economy, the structure of a country’s tax environment is a crucial component of a country’s international competitiveness and is an important factor for businesses when making investment decisions. It is therefore critical for Kenya to ensure that her tax policy is in tandem with her growth aspirations to further encourage relevance and competitiveness in the global market.
Kenya has made a major stride in implementing tax reforms ranging from application of technology in tax collection, tax policy changes among others, which have propelled the country’s ranking in World Bank’s ease of paying taxes indicator to 101 out of 189 countries. However, there still remains major challenges in the taxation regime some of which include: narrow tax base, high rates of tax evasion and avoidance, and high collection costs among others.
To be future-ready in an uncertain global economic outlook, Kenya must leverage on its core competitive advantages to address these challenges which might hamper the country’s double-digit economic growth as aspired under Vision 2030. Further, addressing these challenges will provide a competitive business environment for expansion of Kenya’s global market share. One of the competitive advantages that Kenya is endowed with, is her resourceful, and innovative population that has in the recent past innovated global technological solutions such as the mobile money transfer platform -Mpesa.
To this end, the Kenya Revenue Authority finds an opportunity to tap into these skills, knowledge and innovativeness, to provide solutions geared towards a creating a competitive tax environment.
It is in this regard, that the Theme of the 2016, Annual Summit will be:
‘Kenyan Solutions for Kenyan Challenges: Taxation as a catalyst for Economic Development’.
This theme will further be expounded through discussions around the following thematic areas:
- Tax Administration
- Tax Culture
- Tax Base Enhancement
The summit provides a platform to dialogue on taxation challenges in Kenya with an overarching objective of proposing possible solutions to these challenges for inclusion in tax policy. The end goal of the summit is a taxation environment that is friendly and facilitative for taxpayers, providing for increased compliance, reduced tax leakages and revenue growth.
The specific objectives of the summit will include the following:
- To identify administrative and operational challenges within the tax environment and provide policy solutions to these challenges
- To identify challenges affecting growth of the tax base and propose possible solutions for its enhancement
- To address tax culture challenges that affect compliance