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Kenya: Tax Appeals Tribunal Bill 2013 – details

Tax Appeals Tribunal Bill 2013 – details
26 November 2013
Report from our correspondent Catherine Mutava, Nairobi
The Tax Appeals Tribunal Bill 2013 proposes to replace the current tax appeals system in Kenya. Details of the Bill are summarized below.

The Bill creates the Tax Appeals Tribunal (the “Tribunal”) whose role is to hear appeals against any tax decision made by the Commissioner under any tax statute in Kenya. Members of the Tribunal are to be appointed by the Cabinet Secretary.

Lodging an appeal
A notice of appeal must be submitted to the Tribunal within 30 days of receiving the decision of the Commissioner. The appellant must pay a non-refundable fee of KES 20,000 before appealing to the Tribunal. The appellant must submit a memorandum of appeal, statement of facts and the tax decision within 14 days of submitting the notice of appeal. The appeal is limited, unless the Tribunal orders otherwise, to the grounds stated in the appeal.
Within 30 days of being served with a copy of the appeal, the Commissioner is required to submit to the Tribunal copies of the statement of facts including the reasons for the tax decision and other necessary information.
The parties must be informed in writing of the time and place of the hearing at least 14 days before the commencement of the hearing.

The appellant may appear either in person or be represented by a tax agent. The appellant bears the burden of proof. Parties may apply to settle the matter out of the Tribunal and upon doing so report the outcome of the settlement to the Tribunal.

Powers of the Tribunal
The Tribunal has the powers to prevent the implementation of the decision under review. It also has the powers to summon a person to appear before it to give evidence or produce any information mentioned in the summons. Any person who is summoned by the Tribunal and fails to attend, answer questions or produce information is liable to a fine not exceeding KES 100,000 and/or imprisonment of a term not exceeding 3 years.
Decisions of the Tribunal

Decisions of the Tribunal are by majority vote of the members present and in the case of a tie, the Chairperson shall have a casting vote in addition to his deliberative vote.

Decisions of the Tribunal have the effect and are enforceable as if it were a decision of a court. They are to be available to the public. Parties may appeal the decisions of the Tribunal to the High Court. The appeal must be filed within 30 days after being notified of the decision of the Tribunal.

The existing tribunals will continue to hear and conclude any appeals filed by a taxpayer for a period 6 months after the Bill becomes law.