Parliament has rejected several amendments proposed in the Finance Bill 2022, through its Finance & Planning Committee, .
On the list is amendments to the Tax Appeals Tribunal Act that requires a 50% downpayment of disputed tax amount before an appeal is made.
The Committee argues this proposal will erode businesses’ working capital and affect cash flow, opening avenues for illegal tax deals to reduce tax assessments.
Treasury has sought to amend clause 30 of the Tax Appeals Tribunal Act to require a deposit of 50% of the disputed tax revenue in a special account at the Central Bank of Kenya before a taxpayer can appeal a decision of the tribunal, requiring stakeholders’ engagement.
The Committee also said the proposal is contrary to Article 48 of the Constitution as a barrier to justice and Article 40 on the right to property.
Parliament, through the Finance & Planning Committee, has, however, endorsed a proposal to have inflation adjustment of excise tax done once every two years. The Committee argues two years will allow businesses breathing space.
Parliament has rejected a plan to hike excise tax on betting, saying the sector is already heavily taxed. Further taxation could lead to a shift to offshore betting & loss of revenue to the government.
The Committee said the betting sector is heavily taxed, including 7.5% excise duty, 15% betting tax, 20% withholding tax and 30% corporation tax.
Parliament, through the Finance & Planning Committee, has also rejected Treasury’s plan to widen excise tax to cover locally manufactured bottles (over & above imported bottles).
The Committee says the move will hurt local manufacturing. Parliament said local glass manufacturers cannot meet the current demand for the full range of glass products.
It said there is a need to lower the cost of glass production and encourage the use of glass instead of plastic as a packaging material.
The Finance & Planning Committee has also rejected a proposal to increase to 15.0% excise tax on alcoholic beverages & betting advertisements and said this rate should instead be pegged at 5%.
The Committee said the imposition of a 15% excise duty on fees charged on advertisements by TV and radio stations and print media would damage the businesses as they are already overtaxed.