KRA wants special law for taxi apps

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By JOHN NGIRACHU
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A law to regulate taxi-hailing applications should be enacted, the Kenya Revenue Authority says.

The authority wants a special law rather than one for the entire industry that conventional taxi drivers want.

Top officials from the revenue collector, however, praised the use of technology, saying it made it easier to collect tax and increase the number of taxpayers.

The officials said they were not satisfied with the amount paid by Uber, the most popular taxi company, adding that they would audit the firm to see whether the right amount has been paid.

“The automated platform creates a powerful link for obtaining intelligence on the drivers and vehicle owners who ordinarily are expected to file and pay taxes,” Mr Benson Korongo, the commissioner for domestic taxes said.

Mr Korongo made the presentation to the National Assembly’s transport committee, which is examining petitions by Kenya Taxi Cab Association members and drivers contracted to Uber Kenya.

If the taxman was to establish a link with the various technology platforms, such as Uber, tax collection would be smooth.

The agency said the revenue collected from the 42 conventional and the technology-based taxis firms, was Sh283 million from 2014 to date.

Mr James Ojee, the deputy commissioner for domestic taxes, said Uber Kenya has paid Sh31 million.

Uber has a company in Kenya, which pays corporate tax, but the parent company is in the US and there are branches in other countries.

“On accuracy of returns (for Uber), we’re not happy at 100 per cent,” Mr Korongo said.

Committee chairman Maina Kamanda said: “Those people, from the figures we have heard, collect billions. If you do your calculations right, you’ll find that they take away billions from this country”.

Emmanuel Wangwe (Navakholo) said: “You are receiving tax from someone who is doing illegal business”.

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