Nothing personal, just business, KRA defends war on tax evaders


Nothing personal, just business, KRA defends war on tax evaders
Businessman Humphrey Kariuki and Keroche Breweries CEO Tabitha Karanja. They are accused of evading taxes amounting to billions; allegations they have since denied. PHOTOS| COURTESY

In Summary

  • In a press statement issued on Thursday, KRA said it's not fighting any individual or business but rather seeking to ensure tax compliance by all Kenyans.
  • KRA says it is pursuing those who have "deliberately chosen to evade taxes" through various practices including failure to disclose fully the income they have earned or mis-statement of expenses to reduce the taxable income and therefore evade taxes.

Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has come out to defend the ongoing crackdown on suspected tax evaders amid emerging speculations of malice and prejudice in the operation.

In a press statement issued on Thursday, KRA said it’s not fighting any individual or business but rather seeking to ensure tax compliance by all Kenyans.

“Kenyans should reject the narrative that KRA is fighting any individual or business. On the contrary, KRA has the additional responsibility of trade facilitation under which we support a business environment that is conducive for growth of business, which further results in increased taxes,” said the taxman.

“It is our intention to ensure that all persons who are required to pay taxes do so for the good of this Country. We shall treat all taxpayers with respect and afford them the desired level of services.”

KRA says it is pursuing those who have “deliberately chosen to evade taxes” through various practices including failure to disclose fully the income they have earned or mis-statement of expenses to reduce the taxable income and therefore evade taxes.

The taxman is also targeting individuals or businesses that have failed to pay the correct import taxes through concealment of goods, misdeclarations and undervaluation among other schemes as well as failed to withhold and remit taxes as required by law.

“All we desire is that all eligible taxpayers make every effort to pay their rightful share of taxes. We must all contribute in an equitable manner to the development of our Country,” said KRA.

The ongoing war on tax evaders has been met with mixed reactions after investigative agencies began going after high-flying and wealthy individuals; the most recent being Keroche Breweries CEO Tabitha Karanja and her husband Joseph Karanja.

The two are accused of evading taxes amounting to Ksh.14.4 billion. They have denied the claims.

Also on the KRA chopping board is Nairobi billionaire businessman Humphrey Kariuki, who has since been charged with evasion of taxes totaling Ksh.41 billion. He has dismissed the allegations terming them as “untrue, without merit, fabricated and intended to tarnish his name.”

Meanwhile, KRA says it will be exposing individuals who have wealth that is inconsistent with their known sources of income and share the information with the Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) and the Ethics & Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) for appropriate action.

The authority also assured that it has set up mechanisms for identifying and investigating officers who aid tax evasion, assuring that those found culpable will be prosecuted jointly with the taxpayers they have aided.

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Story By Benjamin Muriuki
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