EDITORIAL: House must pass tax law

Parliament is set to go on vacation with very serious business pending. While the President has signed the Excise Duty Bill into law, serious tax measures are in abeyance as the House is yet to pass the Tax Procedure Bill which levels the ground for taxpayers.

If they do not pass the bill by the time they leave town on December 3, the government will incur massive tax losses.

While car importers can continue enjoying cheap second-hand units without the Sh200,000 tax, the Treasury might be forced to borrow heavily from the domestic market to seal the Sh25 billion expected from the consumer levies.

The tax loss includes revenue accruing from beer and other alcoholic drinks. Alarmingly, this comes in December which is the peak month for alcohol and perhaps water consumption.

Normally taxes are immediate, coming mostly into effect at midnight on the Budget day. But a multiplicity of new laws that have been coming on-stream has made the situation different.

Parliament and executive need to look at this situation going forward to avert tax losses. But of immediate concern is that the House should act promptly to address the current situation.

Failure to do this, MPs just like everyone should prepare to face the dire consequences.    
SOURCE: BUSINESS DAILY