Kenya Imposes Withholding Tax on Professional Fees

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Kenya Imposes Withholding Tax on Professional Fees

In Kenya, the government recently announced the imposition of withholding tax on professional fees in a move to collect more taxes from its citizens. This article seeks to explore this development and provide an analysis of how it will affect both businesses and taxpayers in Kenya. It examines key issues such as whether or not the new law is likely to be effective, who stands to benefit most from it, potential effects on compliance costs for firms providing professional services and possible exemptions available for certain sectors. The paper also considers whether such a levy may have any significant implications for wider economic performance within Kenya’s economy. In addition, various views are examined regarding equity considerations when implementing this type of taxation policy with respect to income distribution between different socioeconomic groups operating within Kenyan society.
Kenya Imposes Withholding Tax on Professional Fees

1. Introduction to Withholding Tax in Kenya

Taxation in Kenya

The tax system of any country is complex and ever-evolving. In the Kenyan context, taxation falls under two primary categories: direct taxes and indirect taxes. Direct taxes are those paid directly to the government by taxpayers; while indirect taxes are imposed on certain transactions such as purchases of goods or services.

Withholding Tax

  • In a withholding tax arrangement, the payer (who pays money for services rendered) deducts an amount from payment before making it to the recipient, thus remitting this ‘deducted’ portion directly to respective taxing authority like KRA.
  • This type of system is known as Pay As You Earn (PAYE) – which applies mainly to wages earned through employment – but can also apply other payments made out with regard to professional fees for instance in architecture/legal consultancy etc.
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< p >Where there has been payment made towards professional fees that exceed 1 million KES per annum for a particular financial year, withholding tax at 10% rate must be applied kenya withholding tax on professional fees over such total value. For amounts lower than 1 million shillings within said period however no provision exists mandating additional charges besides standard levy placed upon service providers.< / p >< br />

< ul style = " list - style - type : disc ">< li >> Additionally , kenya withholding tax on professional fees should not be confused with Value Added Taxes applicable when dealing with sales . This article specifically aims at discussing only about mannerisms related t o paying and claiming returns due against sums deducted due t o withholding regulations . & lt ; / li & gt ;& lt ; li & gt ;; Filing ITR12 forms subsequently based upo n records associated w i th deductions observed upon these regimens constitutes essential step f or benefit recipients who wish t o claim refunds following previous declarations . Similarly lack thereof would put them into precarious situations resulting in compromised position versus authorities concerned .& lt ;/l i >;

2. Definition of Professional Fees Subject to Withholding Tax

Taxable Professional Fees

  • Professional fees paid for services rendered in Kenya are subject to withholding tax at a rate of 10%.
  • The definition of professional fees is wide and includes payments made for any taxable service, such as consultancy, engineering, legal advice or accounting.

Exemptions from Withholding Tax on Professional Fees

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    < strong >Application of Kenya Withholding Tax On Professional Fees
      This tax is applied before the payment reaches its recipient. The person making the payment (the payer) must deduct an amount equal to the applicable rate before paying out to the receiver (the payee). In most cases it will be necessary for both parties – payer and payee -to register with either their local revenue office or online portal in order to facilitate submission of relevant returns. Failure by either party may result in them being held liable if Kenya withholding tax on professional fees has not been deducted or remitted correctly.

    3. Background of the Imposition of Withholding Tax on Professional Fees in Kenya

    The imposition of withholding tax on professional fees in Kenya is regulated by the Kenyan Tax Act. This act requires businesses and individuals to withhold a certain amount from payments made for services provided, and remit that amount directly to the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA). The objective of this law is to ensure timely collection of taxes due from businesses and individuals.

    Under this act, companies engaged in providing professional services such as consulting or legal advice are required to pay withholding tax at rates set out in the Income Tax Act. For instance, lawyers who provide legal advice must pay 10% withholding tax while consultants offering management advisory services must pay 15%. Companies paying these professionals can also be liable for an additional 5% penalty if they fail to deduct or remit withheld amounts within the specified time period.

    Moreover, entities rendering these types of services may need to obtain special permits from KRA before they begin operations so that any applicable kenya withholding tax on professional fees can be collected properly throughout their duration of operation. In addition, those who receive payment for such services have a duty under Section 18B(2) and regulations 30 & 31Aof Income Tax Regulation 2015-16to make declarations regarding their income earned through provisioning such services including details about when kenya withholding tax on professional fees has been paid. Such declarants will then be able file returns with KRA detailing how much income was received after deductions were made which include kenya withholding tax on professional fees payable.

    4. Impact Analysis of the New Policy on Professionals and Businesses in Kenya

    In recent years, the government of Kenya has implemented various economic reforms in order to improve the standard of living and create a more equitable society. One such reform is kenya withholding tax on professional fees, which affects both professionals and businesses. This article will explore how this policy impacts individuals and businesses, as well as what can be done to mitigate potential harms.

    Impact on Professionals: The primary impact that kenya withholding tax on professional fees has had for professionals working in Kenya is an increased cost burden when they receive payment from clients or customers. For example, if an architect charges their client $1,000 USD for their services but are subject to 30% Kenyan taxation due to the new policy, then they would only take home 70% of their original fee – a significant decrease in income.

    • “Kenya Withholding Tax On Professional Fees”
    • : A financial disincentive caused by decreased take home pay.

    Impact on Businesses: Similarly, business owners must now account for these taxes when dealing with third parties who provide services related to production or operation costs – like accounting firms or software vendors. This means that there may be additional overhead costs involved in paying external providers than before. Furthermore, it could become harder for some small companies with limited cash flow reserves to pay up front without burdening themselves financially.

    • “Kenya Withholding Tax On Professional Fees”
    • : Increased operational expenses which strain budgets & resources.

    Mitigating Harmful Effects : It is important that measures are taken by both individuals and businesses alike so as not worsen any financial strain incurred through kenya withholding tax on professional fees . Negotiating agreements with contractors can help reduce overhead costs associated with taxes , while establishing a budgeting plan can help manage funds wisely during periods where payments need to be made . Additionally , seeking out advice from experts familiarized with current regulations may also assist entrepreneurs avoid costly mistakes down the line . Lastly , applying for relevant exemptions available under certain conditions (e . g personal exemption ) should also be explored as it could potentially relieve some burdensome responsibilities levied onto those affected by this law change .

    5. International Comparisons Related to Imposition of Taxes on Professional Services

    Taxes imposed on professional services vary greatly among countries, depending upon their economic systems and political climates. This section will review some of the international comparisons related to imposition of taxes on professional fees in various parts of the world.

    In Kenya, withholding tax is one form of taxation applicable to payments made for certain types of service including consultancy and any other professional services. The rate varies from 5% for resident individuals up to 15% for non-residents. A pay as you earn(PAYE) system is used by employers in Kenya which means that the individual pays an amount each month which reduces their overall tax liability at year end when a final filing or reconciliation takes place with regard to kenya withholding tax on professional fees paid out during that year.

    The United Kingdom imposes Value Added Tax (VAT)on all supply chains starting with raw materials right through until retail level so it should come as no surprise that there are also regulations regarding VAT & kenya withholding tax on professional fees billed by consultant firms operating within this jurisdiction. Professional Fees rendered within UK normally attract 20 percent VAT unless such supplies fall under specific exemptions allowed by law.

    • “Relevant consideration” refers not only to financial payment but could include something such as transferable securities or land.
    • “Specified taxable activities” might be defined broadly, however commonly they refer specifically to design work, publishing advice or legal representation.

    6. Challenges Faced by Kenyan Revenue Authority for Effective Implementation of Withholding Tax 7. Recommendations for Making The Policy More Efficient

    The implementation of withholding tax policy by Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has been met with several challenges. These include inadequate capacity to carry out enforcement, lack of harmonization between the regional authorities in different jurisdictions and non-compliance on the part of taxpayers.

    First, KRA lacks sufficient staff to effectively implement its policies related to kenya withholding tax on professional fees. This leads to difficulty when trying to enforce compliance as well as increased operational costs due to overtime paid for additional personnel required during peak seasons or periods where there is a high demand for revenue collection services from businesses.

    Second, the varying laws among different regions means that it can be difficult for KRA staff members based in one area but dealing with entities operating across multiple jurisdictions. This requires an understanding of each jurisdiction’s specific regulations which may result in conflicting interpretations and increases administrative burden while making effective implementation more difficult.

    • Non-compliance: Taxpayers are not always compliant leading many times they either don’t remit their taxes at all or do so partially resulting into significant loss in government revenues


    • Harmonizing Regional Rules: This challenge also speaks directly about how current rules are often regionally divided rather than consistent throughout country thus leading taxation officers having hard time setting unified legislation framework under which taxes could be properly levied


    • Enforcement Capacity: Despite willingness form Kenyan Government enforcing Withholding Tax policy turn out being really challenging task since resources available usually insufficient meaning much needed money evaporates uncollected into thin air due primarily low number kenya withholding tax on professional fees collectors present within country’s territory


    The imposition of withholding tax on professional fees in Kenya has had a significant effect on the fiscal landscape of this nation. It serves as an important reminder for other nations to carefully consider their taxation policies, lest they face similar issues with generating sufficient funds and hindering economic development. Moving forward, it will be interesting to see how this policy continues to shape Kenya’s revenue generation and broader economy. While more research is necessary before drawing definitive conclusions about the long-term impacts of this new law, it appears that Kenya stands poised at the cusp of meaningful changes within its financial system which could have far reaching implications for businesses operating within its jurisdiction.

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