Kenya-Ireland Plan To Scrap off Double Taxation, Boost Trade

  • A file iumage of the National Treasury
    The National Treasury offices at Harambee Avenue, Nairobi
  • The Kenyan government is on the verge of signing an agreement with Ireland, which will scrape off double taxation of income or gains made by an individual while in either of the two countries. 

    The main purpose of the deal, which must be approved by parliament, is to create a conducive environment for investments and trade by doing away with the unpredictability caused by the seemingly 'punitive' rule. 

    In double taxation, income taxes are paid twice on the same source of income. This is because income will be taxed both at the personal level and at the corporate level. In trade and investments done internationally, it is charged in both countries. 

    A Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) signage on a building

    In such an instance, both individuals or corporations lose a significant portion of income and also face the challenge of incurring higher employee costs in case one is an employer.

    Earlier this week, the National Treasury asked Kenyans what they think about this initiative before they make conclusions with Ireland and sign the deal. 

    The agreement states that it shall apply to taxes on income and capital gains imposed by the two states, irrespective of the manner in which they are levied. 

    “Profits of an enterprise of a contracting state shall be taxable only in that state, unless the enterprise carries on business in the other state through a permanent establishment situated therein,” states the agreement, in part. 

    Kenya majorly imports manufacturing metals, office machines and cereals from Ireland while the country exports tea, coffee, fruits and vegetables to Ireland. 

    The statement further indicates that since 2014 when the Ireland Embassy was opened in Nairobi, trade between the two countries has really grown. Kenya is now getting over $160 million annually (Ksh16 billion).  

    This growth has given Kenya more investors from Ireland. In fact, in 2019, over 40 Irish companies made investment deals worth 4.8 billion with Kenya, Treasury revealed in a statement. 

    It is important to note that so far, the deal to eradicate double-taxation is not only between Kenya and Ireland. Kenya has made similar deals with her key trading partners with the aim of boosting trade.

    Multiple experts warn that double taxation contributes to low investor interest in the country and thus having this deal boosts the flow of investment. 

    The double tax deal with Kenya’s key trade partners like the United Arab Emirates and the East African Community has already been concluded. So far, Kenya has a double tax treaty with the UK, Canada, Denmark, Zambia, Germany among others. 

    Treasury CS Ukur Yatani addresses the media on November 25, 2020, in Nairobi
    Treasury CS Ukur Yatani addresses the media on November 25, 2020, in Nairobi