Businessmen and employees from Meru County are making last minute rush to beat Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) deadline of filing returns with only three days to go.
Businessmen operating cyber cafés within Meru town and Nkubu are cashing huge profits from clients who are flocking to their premises to be assisted to file their returns.
Many of the businessmen interviewed by KNA said that they were paying between Sh.400-500 for the assistance to file the 2018 returns at the cybers.
Long queues have also been witnessed at KRA offices located at former Nakumatt Supermarket, Makutano where tax payers flocked as early as 7.00am to be assisted by the staff at the branch.
According to Jimmy Muriithi who operates Blessings cyber cafe at Meru town, the entire week has seen his business make booming business from assisting tax payers file their returns.
Muriithi said he opens his café by 5.30am in the morning and closes at around 10.30pm, noting that to file returns for a single client he charges between Sh.400-500.
“Many of my clients are civil servants, businessmen, farmers with some coming from areas such as Nkubu, Maua, Kirua.
Muriithi revealed that during this peak season, he had to hire six people to assist him run his business as many of his clients had to leave their documents such as photocopies of their pin certificate and p9 forms due to the long queues.
“I spend sleepless nights filling returns on behalf of my clients” he said adding that his joy is to see his customers are not penalized by KRA for either failing to file returns or filing them late.
He disclosed that per day he makes between Sh.6, 000-8, 000 from the clients, citing that the KRA Website keeps on going down due to high traffic by the number of people trying to access their ITax.
Muriithi observed that though a taxpayer may file returns as early as January, many employers do not release necessary documents required by employees to file the returns on time such as p9.
“The entire month we have been very busy, with people applying for census jobs and also filling returns,” he said.
A civil servant, Jessica Nkirote said that she had to leave her documents such as copies of pin certificate and p9 at a local cyber to be assisted.
She observed that since KRA changed from submitting manual tax returns to online, life has been tough as many tax payers are not computer literate.
“Technology is good but many tax payers may not file returns due to computer illiteracy,” she said adding that the authority should allow those who wish to file returns manually to do so.
Kiogora Magambo, an economist said that since KRA rolled out online filing of returns a few years back, it has eased the process with tax payers saving on time and money used on long queues at the offices.
He observed that with KRA banking on technology, it would help the authority net many taxpayers who have not been filling returns.
Magambo however, urged the authority to do more grassroots sensitization to locals to enlighten them on the benefits of filling tax.
By Muguongo Judy