The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) held a sensitization workshop on 26th May 2015 at the Times Tower for the private sector to engage with them on the developed Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Policy Framework and the re-appraised Audit Governance Framework. KRA is endeavouring to improve on service delivery and to serve Customers better.
Ms. Grace Wandera the Deputy commissioner for marketing and communication made the opening remarks emphasizing aspects of trust and facilitation as characterising the new relationship between KRA and tax payers.
The Acting chief Manager of Large Taxpayers Office Audit Mr. George Obel presented the new audit framework. The framework had clear governance procedures aimed at achieving transparency and efficiency in audit investigation. Efficiencies would be achieved through; shifting from comprehensive audits to issue based audits, registration of cases would be automated, quality of notices would be more specific, scope of work would be clearly outlined, framework for conducting searches and retention of documents.
Ms. Juliet Kamande, the Deputy Commissioner Corporate Tax Dispute Resolution division presented on the soon to be launched ADR policy. The alternative dispute resolution framework was launched to reduce the amount of time wasted in court cases. Furthermore, the adversarial nature of the court process was counter-productive to cordial relations between taxpayers and the tax administrator. It will allow for tax disputes to be resolved outside of the judicial (courts) and quasi-judicial (tribunals) processes. The framework is anchored under the following pieces of legislation.
- Constitution of Kenya, 2010 Article 159 (2) (c)
- Revenue Statutes (objection stage – Dispute Resolution in Revenue Acts)
- The Tax Appeal Tribunal Act (Sec. 28)
- The Tax Procedures Bill (Tax Procedures Act)
The seminar covered several aspects of the ADR including
- The parties in the governance structure,
- Independence facilitator /facilitation Panel and Conflict of Interest,
- Roles of the parties in the governance structure,
- Circumstances can an ADR hearing be terminated,
- The ADR timelines,
- Rights of parties provided under Law
- Approvals, register of settlement and reporting,
- Alteration of assessment on signing of agreement,
- Settlement Procedure, Approvals and Settlement Terms
To ensure ADR is not used as a mischief tactic to avoid the law, cases not appropriate for ADR were also highlighted. These include:
- Disputes involving tax evasion/fraud
- Dispute that would be contrary to the law
- Disputes that would require judicial interpretation/clarification,
- Disputes that would promote compliance following a judicial pronouncement,
- Where a taxpayer has been in serious non-compliance