Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has introduced online Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) sessions to enable taxpayers access to all essential services online a move to safeguard taxpayers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ADR sessions can now be held, uninterrupted through virtual facilities. The facilities bring together the taxpayer, the assessing Commissioner, and a facilitator who chairs the meeting as would happen in a face to face ADR session.
Taxpayers with disputes can still be heard and get solutions without physically attending ADR sessions. The online session is cost-effective and convenient to taxpayers as it covers a larger geographical area with the option of multiple individuals at different locations dialing in.
“KRA can now connect with taxpayers and their agents from the comfort of their offices or homes through video/teleconferencing technology applications such as Zoom, Skype, and hangouts. While keeping the safety and security of these platforms in mind,” noted Ms. Rispah SimiyuThe Deputy Commissioner for Tax Dispute Resolution.
Ms. Simiyu further added that “KRA supports the use of technology as a business continuity model. We encourage parties with tax disputes, for example, assessing Commissioners and taxpayers together with their agents to continue engaging virtually under the ADR framework. ADR is cost-effective, presents an opportunity for faster resolution of tax disputes, improves
compliance and preserves the relationship between the disputants.”
ADR rolled out in June 2015 to complement litigation by providing an amicable and timely settlement of tax disputes. Since its roll-out, ADR has seen an increase in efficient and friendly settlement of disputes. The 2018/2019 financial year has the sharpest spike in ADR applications. 502 applications were received out of which 237 cases with a revenue yield of Kshs8.102 billion were resolved.
A phenomenal improvement compared to the 2017/18 Financial Year which yielded a revenue of Kshs 3 billion with only 90 resolved. An analysis of the number of resolved cases in the two financial years indicates an increase of 147 cases. Which translates into 263 per cent increment.
The resulting revenue implication has been equally enormous. Recording a revenue increase from Kshs 3 billion in 2017/2018 Financial Year to Kshs 8.102 billion in 2018/2019.
The increase in the number of applications and resolution rates indicates that. ADR has increasingly gained acceptance, traction, and public confidence, thereby becoming a preferred avenue for tax dispute resolution.