By Claire Wanja
The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) is set to partner with County governments to strengthen compliance in the remission of property rates.
According to the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA), property rates remain the greatest challenge in county revenue collection with most county governments issuing biannual amnesties to property owners to encourage them to comply with the law.
Speaking during the 2nd Annual Tax Summit CRA Chairman Micah Cheserem says county revenues have grown to over Ksh. 35 billion shillings annually but counties are still highly dependent on the revenue share from the national government.
“KRA has been talking about transforming into the Kenya revenue Service, part of this transformation should be collaboration with county governments. KRA’s mandate is not only to serve the national government by to also enable counties meet their own revenue targets’ Mr. Cheserem said.
KRA Commissioner for Domestic Taxes Mr. Benson Korongo says KRA is already working with some county governments to integrate the iTaxSystem with county revenue collection systems and enable them generate billing slips through the system. Taxpayers will also be able to make payments and generate e-slips through iTax.
“Once fully implemented, other than boosting revenue collection for the counties, taxpayers will not be expected to visit county revenue offices for billing slips or to make payments for property rates. They will be able to carry out this task from their place of comfort using iTax system,” Commissioner Korongo said.
County governments say additional legislation is needed to enhance revenue collection at county level, with additional resources needed to develop data bases on taxpayers at county level through the automation of fees and levies.
Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and his Laikipia counterpart Governor Joshua Irungu said that counties need additional support to automate their revenue collection and monitoring systems with KRA already working with some counties to develop a suitable revenue collection model that can be adopted for all devolved services.
‘It is noteworthy that KRA has assisted by developing a model which had been adopted by some counties in order to harmonize revenue collection through the formation of regional blocks which have uniform legislation. For the model to be affective counties need to develop harmonized legislation’ Governor Oparanya said.
‘County Governments must work on establishing a legal framework to support revenue collection. In the case of Laikipia County, the partnership with KRA had impacted positively on revenue collection. The County was exploring partnering with KENHA to install weigh bridges as one way of addressing the damage on the roads infrastructure within its jurisdiction.’ Governor Irungu said.
The development of harmonized legislation across all counties has also been identified by the private sector as the key to addressing double taxation and ensuring that the overall cost doing of business does not go up.
The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and industry says that for business to thrive both national and county revenues must be streamlined to ensure that they do not hinder the development of business across the country.