Activist moves to court to compel churches to pay tax

Dr. Magare Gikenyi Benjamin, a Kenyan Consultant Trauma and General Surgeon, has submitted a legal petition challenging the legitimacy of an alleged improper and discriminatory income tax exemption policy in Kenya.

Dr. Magare Gikenyi Benjamin, a Kenyan Medic Consultant Trauma and General Surgeon
Dr. Magare Gikenyi Benjamin, a Kenyan Medic Consultant Trauma and General Surgeon

The petition seeks to rope in churches, mosques, temples & other organisations to pay income tax.

The petition, filed with the High Court at Milimani Nairobi, raises concerns about specific provisions within the Income Tax Act Cap 470, claiming that they violate constitutional principles of fairness and equity in taxation.

Registered as Petition No. E001 of 2024, the petition specifically targets sections 3(2) and 13 of the Income Tax Act, arguing that these sections establish a select group of individuals and entities exempt from income tax.

Dr. Benjamin argues that such exemptions are contrary to the constitutional mandate outlined in article 209 and the principle of fair tax burden sharing articulated in article 201(b) of the Kenyan Constitution.

The petitioner contends that the identified sections of the Income Tax Act lead to discriminatory taxation, excluding certain individuals and entities from tax obligations.

Dr. Benjamin argues that this practice violates constitutional articles 27, 28, and 201(b)(i) & (c) by allowing specific groups, including churches, mosques, temples, NGOs, and certain donation groups, to enjoy tax exemptions while others bear the full burden of taxation.

Making a comparison to George Orwell’s “Animal Farm,” Dr. Benjamin characterizes the situation as creating a scenario where some entities are considered more equal than others.

He highlights that the so-called “exempteers” have taken advantage of this legal loophole, accumulating significant financial gains without contributing their fair share to the country’s tax revenue.

Stressing the importance of upholding constitutional principles, the petitioner underscores article 3 of the constitution, asserting that every individual has an obligation to respect, uphold, and defend the constitution.

Dr. Benjamin argues that the discriminatory nature of the contested sections of the statute contradicts the constitutional mandate of equitable tax burden-sharing outlined in article 201(c).

What do you think?

Written by Ateker TV

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