KRA uncovers wealthy tax cheats with Ksh259 billion unpaid taxes

Times Tower
KRA headquarters. [Photo Nation]

A total of 1,309 firms and wealthy people are on a warpath with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) over Ksh259 billion in tax arrears.

KRA detectives are now planning on banning their travel abroad, freeze their assets and deactivate their Personal Identification Numbers (PINs).

KRA Commissioner General Githii Mburu who made the communication said the authority is conducting an in-depth probe on tax evaders.

Mburu did not reveal the names of the individuals and the firms.

“We have profiled 1,309 individuals and companies with tax-loss estimated at approximately Sh259 billion,” he stated as quoted by Business Daily.

KRA by law could call for a travel ban and collect duty directly from high net-worth tax cheat banks and suppliers.

KRA has earmarked individuals and firms in tax evasion schemes where they have filed fake VAT invoices ending up not paying billions of shillings in taxes.

A majority of the firms are in the construction sector, importation of hardware and household goods, scrap metal dealers and electronic equipment importers who understate their VAT obligation.

High net-worth individuals, on the other hand, are reportedly said to be hiding their income.

KRA through its enforcement unit has been investigating these firms and individuals by studying their bank statements, imports records, Kenya Power records, water bills, motor vehicle registration among others.

Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCCA) has also provided KRA with information on assets such as helicopters.

Additionally, wealthy people who drive high-end cars but end up filing fewer taxes are on the radar.

Landlords haven’t been spared either as KRA is studying their Kenya Power records to determine if their tax records are at per or lower.

To remain a step ahead of tax cheats, KRA through a team of auctioneers is keeping a record of the properties belonging to individuals and firms who have been earmarked.

KRA says that it will bar the heads of flagged companies from flying out of the country. Failure to settle their obligation, their PINs will be deactivated.

Once a PIN is cancelled, you cannot do much because you need it to develop property, buy land, motor vehicle registration among others.
KRA hired 1,000 officers stationed in her enforcement and intelligence departments who have made the huge stride in earmarking the 1,309 firms and individuals.