Judge gavel and scale in court. The High Court has ruled the Tax Appeals Tribunal cannot stay its own proceedings.

The High Court has ruled that the Tax Appeals Tribunal (TAT) does not have jurisdiction to stay its own proceedings on account of other proceedings pending in the High Court.

The court issued the verdict following Kenya Revenue Authority’s appeal after TAT dismissed KRA’s application to enforce a settlement agreement reached with a taxpayer.

KRA had moved TAT to enforce a settlement agreement entered with the taxpayer through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process.

In the application, KRA wanted the tribunal to direct and order that ADR Agreement was a legally binding agreement on the issues agreed upon and was capable of enforcement.

In the appeal, the High Court ruled that TAT cannot stay its own proceedings for an indeterminate period of time on the basis of a suit whose outcome is unknown. In his judgement, Justice David Majanja further held that ADR Agreement was binding and enforceable.

The case arises from TAT’s move to stay its own proceedings pending a High Court case filed by Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) against the taxpayer.

Before EACC filed the case against the taxpayer, KRA had entered an agreement with the company through the ADR process and the company was supposed to pay Ksh150.9 million.

As a result, the taxpayer requested KRA to await the determination of the case stating that the judgement will affect the amount of taxes payable under the ADR Agreement.

KRA declined and filed an application at the TAT to enforce the ADR Agreement. the taxpayer argued that enforcement of the ADR Agreement would be prejudicial and amounts to unfair administrative action in the face of its pending case with the EACC. TAT dismissed the application on 31st March 2020.

KRA argued before High Court that it was not a party to the pending case between EACC and the taxpayer and that it was only the High Court which can stay the enforcement of the ADR Agreement.

Following the High Court’s decision, KRA can now move to collect the Ksh150.9 million taxes from the taxpayer.

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