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KRA responds to claims of blocking Kenyans with tax arrears from flying out

The Kenya Revenue Authority has clarified social media reports that Kenyans with outstanding arrears are being barred from leaving the country.

Travellers at JKIA

The claims were first made by some users on X (formerly Twitter), raising concerns from many netizens.

However, KRA said the claims were false, terming the reports as story za jaba, slang for made-up stories.

“Jaba. Infact, tunasamehea watu wako na tax penalties and interest for the period up to December 31, 2022," KRA responded to the claims.

“Bora tu ufile returns zenye ulimiss na ulipe any outstanding principal tax kabla deadline ya June 30, 2024,” the statement read.

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Under this tax amnesty program, taxpayers who have paid all the principal taxes due by December 31, 2022 are entitled to an automatic waiver of penalties and interest related to that period, without the need to make an amnesty application.

For those who have not paid all the principal taxes accrued up to December 31, 2022, they are required to apply for amnesty on interest and penalties and propose a payment plan for any outstanding principal taxes, which should be paid by June 30, 2024.

KRA has been under pressure to increase tax collections to meet ambitious targets by President William Ruto.

President Ruto's push for increased revenue collections comes as the government aims to double tax collections by the end of his first term in 2027, with a target of collecting Sh2.57 trillion in the 2023/24 financial year.

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In response to President Ruto's call, KRA has hired revenue service assistants to enforce tax compliance, implementing new electronic invoicing and reporting tools to enhance tax collection and combat tax evasion.

In October, KRA unveiled a strategy to track down and address the issue of traders who have shifted from mobile money payments to cash transactions as a means to circumvent their tax obligations.

In recent weeks, KRA observed a significant number of businesses, including those that previously relied on mobile money payments, reverting to traditional cash payment methods.

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This shift raised concerns, especially since the tax authority recently intensified its compliance checks in major urban centres.

KRA Chief Manager of the Domestic Tax Department, Caroline Rotich, disclosed that KRA is collaborating with Safaricom to identify businesses that have ditched mobile money payments.

"Many businesses are now closing Lipa Na M-Pesa merchant accounts, Buy Goods and Pochi La Biashara Tills. We are collaborating with Safaricom to get information on such traders who are jeopardising tax compliance measures.

"We will also facilitate integration and do follow-ups once we have the information to enhance compliance through our RSA programme," Rotich said.

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This partnership is part of the broader strategy to ensure that tax obligations are met and to eliminate potential tax evasion practices.

These initiatives are geared towards maintaining a fair and effective taxation system that supports the nation's growth and development while discouraging any form of tax malpractice.

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