Why Kenyan men should be worried of their wives’ tax bills
Kenyan men whose wives have not been paying income tax run the risk of falling foul of the Kenyan law.
This is due to an antiquated regulation which places the responsibility of settling a woman’s tax liabilities on the husband unless she formally decides to do so.
Tax experts say the provision in Section 45 of the Income Tax Act, which dates back to the 1970s, is a relic of the past era when women were legally recognised as dependants of their husbands and is one of those earmarked for repeal during this year’s review of the tax law.
Viva Africa, a legal and tax consultancy, recently sent shivers down the spine of thousands of married men with the release of an advisory alerting them of the legal exposure.
Alice Owuor, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Commissioner, Domestic Taxes, described the provision as antiquated and inappropriate going by the present realities.
“It presupposes that the income of a married woman living with her husband is the income of the husband for purposes of ascertaining his total income, and is therefore assessed on that basis, and the tax thereon charged,” Ms Owuor said.
This means that the tax liability of a married woman (expressly living with her husband) is borne by the husband unless the woman opts to file a separate return.
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