Administrative justice in taxation: an evaluation of KRA’s administrative practices

Gathura, Winnie Wanjiku
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Strathmore University
Administrative justice is a fundamental requirement of a society based on the rule of law. It indicates a commitment to the principle that the government, and its administration, must act within the scope of legal authority. It also signifies the right to seek legal redress whenever rights, liberties or interests are negatively affected when the public administration exercises its duties in an unlawful or inappropriate manner. Given the power and informational advantages that the state possesses relative to the citizen, it is vital that administrative procedure and dispute codes afford the public significant procedural rights and permit decisions and appeals to be dealt with efficiently, fairly and swiftly. A review of several reported cases reveals that even with the developments in Kenya’s tax administration regime, taxpayers are far from having their matters determined in a fair, straightforward, affordable, and efficient manner. This study adopted a doctrinal legal research approach, which included an in-depth review of administrative law, its development process, and legal reasoning. It critically examined Kenya's tax administration system by studying various provisions of the relevant laws to fully grasp what procedural requirements Kenyan law mandates. This research investigated two questions: a) Are administrative law principles relevant in tax administration? and b) Do KRA administrative practices adhere to the principles of administrative law? To answer these questions, this research reviewed and critically analysed Kenya’s tax administration regime from an administrative law perspective. To investigate the extent to which KRA adheres to the principles of administrative law, this study analyzed six cases against KRA and observed that the Courts, have on several occasions found fault in KRA’s decision-making process. The study concludes that, notwithstanding administrative law developments, the KRA's decision making process falls short of administrative law principles’ standards. The study highlights the plight of taxpayers and the need to balance the State’s and taxpayers’ competing interests and ensuring administrative justice. On this basis, it is desired that this research influences Kenya’s tax policy and steer it in a direction to ensure that these interests are balanced in practice.
A Thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the Degree of Master of Laws, at Strathmore University
Administrative justice, Taxation, KRA