The inception of the tax hackathon dates back over three months, with the purpose of gathering students from law schools across the country to create a discussion on Tax law. The hackathon was organized in partnership with well-known companies and law firms such as PWC, Anjarwalla & Khanna, Kenya Revenue Authority, and Huawei, who supported the initiative and paved the way for the event.
Fast forward to February 2023, the Tax Hackathon organizers reached out to multiple universities in Kenya with institutions such as the University of Nairobi, Strathmore University, Kenyatta University, Riara University, expressing their interest in taking part and joining the discussion of current developments in the Tax Regime.
Following a successful registration process with over 70 participants and distinguished panels of speakers with vast experience in tax, the event officially kicked off on the 1st of March 2023 at 9.00 AM. The event involved 2 sessions of panel discussions addressing pertinent issues on tax and the role that students and practitioners can play in propelling the tax regime forward. The students expressed their interest through contributions to the discussion and queries to the distinguished panelists. The discussion proved fruitful allowing for extensions of up to an hour. To conclude the first day, the hackathon participants received the problem question on digital tax which was issued alongside the rules for the competition due to take place on Friday, the 8th of March 2023.
The question was: Kenya struggles in distributing the tax burden equitably as espoused in the constitution. This is especially so when it comes to taxation of professional services and the digital economy where informality as well as the emergence of the gig economy makes the two difficult to tax. Prepare and discuss legislative proposals on how the two areas can be taxed.
On the day of the competition, participants were allocated to the various rooms where they presented their research on the problem questions and offered solutions to distinguished judges. From their oratory skills to the solutions offered, the students showcased a great depth of research into tax law and their passion to contribute to this area of law. With 4 successful rounds, the finals were held at 3 o’clock, with sessions spanning over 45 minutes due to the questions posed to the participants and the great presentations made.
After a careful deliberation by the judges, marks were awarded for overall presentation, knowledge on tax, and most importantly, the crafted solutions to the problem. In anticipation of the results, the students had the privilege of receiving feedback from the judges who commended them for their efforts and great knowledge and understanding of tax law and its policies in Kenya and internationally. To bring the inaugural tax law hackathon to a close, the winners were announced with the overall winning team from the University of Nairobi (Brian Kibet, Mercy Korir, Elly Keanes) being gifted an opportunity to intern with PWC. The first runners-up from Kenyatta University (Salome Wachuka, Cecilia Njeri, John Muasa), received an internship position with A&K law firm. The second Runners-up Team emerged from Strathmore University (Albert Macharia, Laura Otieno, Ashley Adipo) and received tablets from Huawei’s CFO.
With the end of the inaugural Tax Hackathon by Strathmore Tax Research Centre, the event was one of success with great anticipation for the next one.
This article was written by Tabitha Munyaka.
What’s your story? We’d like to hear it. Contact us via email@example.com