Dennitah Ghati ’04SW is fighting for her country’s most vulnerable citizens Courtesy of Dennitah Ghati
The Kenyan government has been seeking ways to broaden the tax base by introducing taxes that affect the general population, but they mostly affect People with Disabilities (PWDs), who can hardly afford the means to a decent living, disproportionately. Further, the funding for the social protection programmes has either reduced or remained the same over the recent fiscal years. This may limit the scope of the programmes that directly benefit persons with disabilities and hence highlights the need to have tax systems that are considerate of this group, as a more sustainable approach in the long run.
ILP’s lawyers analysed the position of PWDs and marginalised sections of the population in Kenya’s tax legislation, providing recommendations on how fiscal policies can eliminate features of their tax systems that are discriminatory, while promoting more inclusive and equitable taxation across the population.
ILP’s lawyers assisted the National Taxpayers Association (NTA) to conduct a comparative study on tax legislation concerning PWDs between Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Ghana, Uganda, Ivory Coast, Rwanda, Ethiopia, United Kingdom (UK), United States of America (USA) and Canada.
The study highlighted the following tax measures that were relevant to PWDs and could be incorporated in Kenya: income tax exemptions and reliefs; income tax deductions and credits; Value-Added Tax (VAT) and other consumption tax incentives; and Disability-related service.
The comparative study aided the civil society to prepare a report on taxation of PWDs in Kenya which provided recommendations on how Kenya could apply best practices in tax legislation and fiscal reforms to achieve economic and social justice for persons with disabilities.