RIYADH: Kenya’s integrated tax system, also referred to as the “itax”, has helped raise the number of active taxpayers in the country by 5.8 million to hit 7.4 million in 2022, according to Mohamed Omar, the commissioner for strategy, innovation and risk management at the Kenya Revenue Authority.
Speaking during a panel discussion on the first day of the Zakat, Customs, and Tax conference in Riyadh, Omar highlighted the significant impact of digitizing the tax system.
“The itax had an impact and we saw shifts in numbers. So, around 2014 there were 1.6 million active taxpayers, these were people who do regular returns and regular payments, the number in 2022 was 7.4 million, so that’s about more than four times,” he revealed.
He went on to explain that, as a result of digitizing the tax system, the growth in revenue was more than the nominal growth in the gross domestic product.
In addition to this, the filing system has also seen significant improvement.
“By 2017, 100 percent filing and payment was being done online; that was not happening before,” he stressed.
George Betselis, governor of the Independent Authority of Public Revenues in Greece, also spoke about the digitization of the tax system with a special focus on the COVID-19 pandemic era.
“During the pandemic, we needed to find digital solutions for at least being able to receive front end and provide front-end digital services. Our tax offices were closed, so we had to accommodate requests,” he said.
The Zakat, Tax, and Customs conference aims to tackle global experiences in the fields and discuss the future of digitizing those sectors as well as propelling trade and protecting national security.