After discussing withholding tax (WHT) refunds in February, it is WHT time again. This is my current obsession without a doubt and it is not about to blacken out.

In practice this tax is withheld upon making a payment to suppliers.

a) How about if we do not make a payment or if we delay to make a payment?

Currently as long as no payment is made to the supplier, then no payment of WHT is made to the URA. So we continue to have year on year financial reports showing the balance payable to the supplier. This balance includes what should be WHT.

In a very recent tax case determination by the Court of Appeal of Kenya, the word 'payment' as far as withholding tax is concerned has been defined to include amounts that have been credited, distributed, dealt with, recognised as payable this then goes beyond the shallow meaning of 'delivery of money' or 'to give what is owed'.

b) So what is the worry if this happened in Kenya?

I have learned that when a judgement is delivered, the courts are bound by previous decisions and precedent. The other thing is that the URA are awake to this judgement and as a matter of fact, our tax laws define the word "payment" not so differently.

The growing concerns around our debt levels mean that tax collection is going to be key to the new budget. I don't see URA waiting for us to pay WHT when we eventually decide to pay our suppliers. They will make a move to collect the tax earlier. Let us just be ready.

What I have shared here is not a clue, it is a complete giveaway of what is next on the URA obsession list.

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