You must pay tax, Kenya MPs told
The taxman on Monday gave indication he wants to act on MPs who have refused to pay tax.
Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) wants the legislators to formally explain in writing the reasons for refusing to pay tax.
KRA senior deputy commissioner in-charge of marketing and communication Kennedy Onyonyi said the MPs should state the grounds for their objection.
In a statement, Mr Onyonyi said the taxman advised the MPs during a meeting last week that “any objection to the tax demand ought to be handled within the framework provided by law.”
The framework requires the submission of a formal objection, detailing the grounds of such objection, Mr Onyonyi said.
KRA is committed to ensuring fairness in treatment of all taxpayers and will always keep its doors open to assist taxpayers comply with tax legislation,” he said.
But analysts believe the KRA move is meant to enable the MPs commit themselves individually, whether they would comply with the requirements or not so that it can take its next move.
MPs have been at loggerheads with the tax collector over demands that they pay taxes like other Kenyans as per the Constitution. (READ: Dispute deepens as KRA refuses to budge on MPs’ tax)
Mr Onyonyi said KRA held a meeting with the Parliamentary Service Commission on July 20 “as part of the process of engagement to resolve the issue of taxation of allowances paid to MPs.”
“At the meeting, both parties expressed themselves on the matter with KRA restating its position as communicated in past correspondence with Parliament,” he said.
However, lawmakers privy to the meeting said the taxman promised to seek the interpretation of the Supreme Court over the matter.
Last week, KRA sent a bill of more than Sh500 million to Parliament. (READ: Taxman demands Sh580m from MPs)
According to a demand notice to the PSC by the tax collector, the amount is required to been paid by August 15.
KRA had further threatened to auction the property of MPs and other top government officials if they failed to pay their taxes.
The authority had given the affected officials, and their employers, until mid-July to pay up. The Judiciary is already in touch with KRA and has asked to be guided to comply with the law.
There has been public pressure on MPs to pay tax arrears on their salaries. The MPs, however, argue that they had reached an agreement with the two principals, KRA and Ministry of Finance that they would start paying full tax after the next general election.
Currently, MPs only pay tax on their allowances totalling Sh200,000. President Kibaki, PM Raila Odinga and a number of MPs have already paid their taxes.