Taxman gives MPs 30 days to clear arrears
Kenya Revenue Authority has given MPs 30 days to start paying income tax on their huge salaries.
If they don’t, the taxman will go to court, seize and auction their properties to recover up to Sh580 million in tax arrears.
In a letter to the Clerk of the National Assembly, the authority rejected MPs’ request to be exempted from paying tax.
Several MPs, including President Kibaki, Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, have already paid their arrears.
Others are Mr Peter Kenneth (Gatanga), Mr Johnstone Muthama (Kangundo), Rev Mutava Musyimi (Gachoka) and Mr Leny Kivuti (Siakago).
The KRA said it was acting on the strength of Article 210(3) and Paragraph 7 of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution directing public officers to pay tax.
The article states: “No law may exclude or authorise the exclusion of a State officer from payment of tax by reason of — (a) the office held by that State officer; or (b) the nature of the work of the State officer.”
Paragraph 7 of the Constitution says: “All law in force immediately before the effective date continues in force and shall be construed with the alterations, adaptations, qualifications and exceptions necessary to bring it into conformity with this Constitution.”
The clause states further that if any law is in conflict with the Constitution, the latter shall prevail.
Section 101 of the Income Tax Act gives KRA powers to sue any tax defaulter to recover arrears. It states:
“Where payment of tax has not been made on or before the due date; or a notice which has been served on a person under Section 98 has not been complied with, the tax due by that person may be sued for and recovered as a debt due to the Government in a court of competent jurisdiction by the Commissioner in his official name.”
Last month the taxman asked MPs to formally explain in writing the reasons for refusing to pay tax.
The Income Tax Act demands that the authority gives defaulters a chance to be heard before moving to recover any arrears.
The framework requires submission of a formal objection detailing the grounds of such objection.
“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,” said KRA’s spokesperson Kennedy Onyonyi