A tax agent is a party licensed by the KRA Commissioner to handle tax matters on behalf of a taxpayer. They could also be an administrator, a personal representative, an executor of a will, a trustee – in bankruptcy, a receiver or liquidator appointed to administer, manage, liquidate or wind up the affairs of a taxpayer, including a deceased taxpayer. They offer professional assistance to people or companies that can’t or don’t want to prepare taxes on their own. The Tax Agents Committee, which ensures that tax agents are fit for practice, recommends them for registrations.
The Committee recommends them as proper persons to prepare returns, notice of objections or otherwise transact business with the Commissioner on behalf of the taxpayer. The appointment of a tax agent does not relieve taxpayers from performing any obligation imposed on them under a tax law that their tax agent has failed to perform. This means that they should always bring themselves up to speed with their tax records, such that, should the agent fail to perform their duty as required, the taxpayer is better informed to opt for a better alternative.
Roles of a tax agent
Taxpayers can safely engage tax agents for their services since they are verified as competent practitioners. Their roles include:
- Preparing and filing correct tax returns to ensure taxes are not evaded.
- Submitting proper documents when requested by KRA.
- Submitting payments collected on behalf of the Authority.
- Using the correct tariff classifications to ensure imports are not undervalued.
- Maintaining tax records on behalf of the taxpayer.
- Using the prescribed unit of currency in books of accounts, records, tax returns or tax invoices as Kenya Shillings.
- Being well-acquainted with tax matters and conducting their practice with utmost integrity and transparency.
- Providing tax advice within the jurisdictions of tax laws.
- Being competent, act ethically and professionally in providing quality service and advice.
- Contributing to the design of a more effective and business-friendly tax policies and procedures.
Requirements for becoming a tax agent
To become a KRA tax agent, you have to meet these requirements.
- Name of applicant: Full names as shown on your ID/Passport.
- PIN details.
- Registered/Physical address: Street/road, postal address, telephone, and email address.
- Professional applicant will be expected to fill the name of profession, name of professional body and the registration number will be required for all professional applicants. Please note that professional applicants are required by KRA to get endorsement from their professional body.
- Non-professional applicants, KRA mentions that you need to attach a brief two-page curriculum vitae (CV) summarizing your work experience, academic and professional qualifications, if any.
- Tax Compliance Certificate i.e., Serial Number and Date of Issue.
- All persons practicing as firms or other legal entities, the certificate of registration shall be issued in the individual names of the proprietors.
- The commissioner may register a person as a tax agent if that person is tax compliant and;
- Is a member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya.
- Is an advocate of the High Court of Kenya and holds a current practicing certificate.
- Is a former tax administrator with at least ten years of experience in tax administration.
- Is a holder of any other relevant qualifications and experience recognized by the commissioner as sufficient for a tax agent.
How to become a tax agent
To become a tax agent, you need a licence. This licence is issued once you:
- After filling a form obtained from KRA, you will need to sign the document before submission to KRA.
- Pay a a non-refundable fee of Ksh 20,000.
- Get a recommendation for registration by the tax agents committee.
- You are identified fit and proper person to prepare tax returns, notices of objection.
- Be of good character and integrity.
- The commissioner is satisfied that you are qualified for registration as a tax agent.
KRA will respond to you in writing of their decision and from time to time publish a list of persons with license who act or operate as tax agents. Please note that the above regulations shall not apply to a non-resident who is temporarily in Kenya for the sole purpose of representing a client on tax matters.
Deregistration of a tax agent
If you wish to stop performing your duty as a tax agent (voluntary cancellation), you will be required to inform KRA in writing at least seven days prior to termination of your services. KRA can cancel a tax agent’s license if:
- A tax return prepared and filed by the tax agent is false.
- You ceases to satisfy the conditions for licensing as a tax agent.
- You stop performing your duties as a tax agent and notified KRA in writing.
- You notify KRA you want to stop performing duties as a tax agent.
KRA will notify you in writing in regard to the cancellation of the license. The cancellation shall take effect when you cease to carry on business as a tax agent or 60 days after you receive a Cancellation Letter from KRA.