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There Will Soon Be No Place To Hide, KRA Warns Tax Dodgers.

The Huduma Centre and KRA teams pose for a group photo outside the Huduma Centre Thika. From Left is Josephine Mwengi, Wilfred N. Okemwa, Salome Rombo and Diana Tenga.

The Kenya Revenue Authorities (KRA) is soon catching up on affluent tax evaders who have been enjoying government services without contributing to the economy through paying taxes.

Speaking at the Kiambu Huduma Centre in Thika, KRA Central Regional Coordinator Wilfred N. Okemwa said that the vast majority of Kenyan individuals and businesses did not pay the tax that was due to them, imposing an unfair burden on the honest minority who did pay their taxes diligently. He said that this prevented money from reaching the crucial public services that needed it.

“We intend to bring on board all those Kenyans who are not yet in our tax bracket. Our ‘Vision 2020’ is aiming at recruiting an additional 4 million additional taxpayers which actually translates to about 65% of our targeted group. In our last Fiscal Year, we managed to collect sh. 1.2 trillion from just 25% of the potential taxpayers. We want to stop people cheating the tax system and collect more of what’s owed. If everyone pays their taxes, the country will comfortably meet their obligations without having to depend on donor countries for assistance,” said Okemwa.

Okemwa said that KRA was soon introducing a new ‘smart and intelligent’ database into their system to help check tax evasion, a database that will immensely improve ‘mining’ of data as it will include all financial transactions of individuals and entities.

The coordinator said that they were using this month, their ‘Taxpayers’ month’, to sensitise the Kenyan taxpayer on the need to pay their taxes. He said that they were going round and interacting with them in the intention of creating more awareness and sharing ideas on how best they would serve them.

He said that by embracing technology, KRA would enable the government to access exchequer money in real-time thus avoiding certain delays that are experienced due to late delivery of money paid through taxes. He added that their new database was now able to invoice anyone with tax arrears to request for payments.

“We are working to prevent evasion and avoidance, detecting it early where it arises, and counteracting it effectively through investigation and legal challenge. We plan to do this embracing the use of technology. We are now focusing on offering every customer a platform where they can have their payments, fill in their returns and have their queries responded to at the comfort of their homes. In fact, you can now pay your taxes via the mobile phones,” he said.

KRA has already opened a desk at the Huduma Centre where members of the public can get their services. They were partnering with other organisations such as the county governments with a view to get all those who were supplying goods or services pay their taxes. They were also working with the Lands Ministry to integrate a system whereby all land transactions will be captured to avoid any tax evasion.

KRA will soon open KRA ‘tax kiosks’, similar to the M-PESA shops that will be distributed into the estates in a move geared towards taking services nearer to the consumers and also ensuring that everyone was put on board to pay for their obligations as Kenyans.

Speaking during the same event, Huduma Centre Manager Madam Josephine Mwengi said that her centre was currently holding a customer service week where they were engaging the members of the public to sensitise them on the services they were offering and discuss how best they could serve them.

“The KRA team are here to celebrate with us our customer service week. Apart from our normal schedule, we want to serve our clients with a different touch. We want to make a difference in the way public service was provided to the people. Every Wednesday, we shall be having a customer service day in relation to the same goal,” said Mwengi.

The centre is currently having active 34 counters. They have not yet gotten staff to handle the immigration department so they cannot deal with passport issues as par now. They too cannot handle matters related to the Lands even after receiving some staff as the ministry has not yet digitised their systems.

Those present included Thika KRA Station Manager Salome Rombo and Diana Tenga, the Thika KRA Programmes Manager.

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