KRA Powers Slashed, Handed to Judiciary

Martha Koome during her swearing in on Friday, May 21, at State House.
  • The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) is set to relinquish a critical tax function to Judiciary. The authority will lose its control over tax appeals.

    The management of the Tax Appeal Tribunal was handed over to the Judiciary Service Commission (JSC).

    Currently, the Tax Appeals Tribunal is held by KRA which provides its budgetary allocation, office space and general infrastructure requirements.

    However going forward, the JSC is expected to be in charge of appointing authority of members’ of the tribunal while the Public Service Commission (PSC) will vet and recruit the secretary and staff of the Tax Appeal Tribunal (TAT).

    Martha Koome during her swearing in on Friday, May 21, at State House.

    At the same time, the tribunal funds will now be appropriated by Parliament which will see the tribunal obtain its own budgetary allocation.

    The National Assembly Finance and National Planning Committee, led by Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga has approved changes to the Tax Appeals Tribunal Act of 2013. The changes were introduced in a bill dated May 5, 2021.

    The bill, as seen by, has 18 clauses that sought to address challenges affecting the performance of the Tax Appeals Tribunal.

    Its goal is to facilitate the expediency of tax disputes in the country.

    The Tax Appeals Tribunal is among 34 tribunals that were to be regularized to comply with a High Court directive issued on March 11 this year.

    This was after a successful petition to the High Court by human rights activist Okiya Omtatah. 

    In his petition, Omtatah refuted both the current composition and operations of local tribunals, implicating TAT.

    Additionally, National Treasury supported the changes set to be effected in the administration of the tribunal.

    The ministry looks forward to the solution of various operational hurdles including a backlog of appeals from taxpayers.

    “The current Tribunal has been sitting to hear cases just like any board of a public entity. This arrangement may have contributed to a backlog of cases waiting to be heard and concluded as tax appeals cases, due to their complexity in nature, require more sitting for hearing and also for writing judgement,†elaborated the Treasury’s Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS), Nelson Gaichuhie.

    The Tribunal is expected to be deployed on a full-time basis, first disentangling the current backlog.

    Gladys Wanga
    Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga addresses MPs on Friday, July 17, 2020.