The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has flagged the operations of 20 clearing and forwarding agents based at the Port of Mombasa, setting them up for tighter scrutiny as it moves in to net tax cheats.
KRA deputy commissioner for Revenue J Kaguru says in a letter dated November 11 that the firms were found to have ‘non-compliance issues’ after several risk analyses.
The clearing and forwarding agents include Regal Freighters, Delta Express, Subukia Holdings, Greentop Logistics, Zanaa Freights, Riam Logistics as well as Utmost Freight Matters Limited.
Others are Ozone Freight Forwarders Limited, Adelcus Agencies, Wiljones Logistics, Venues Kenya Limited and Neline Shipping and Logistics Enterprises.
“The attached list of 20 clearing agents have been found to have compliance issues, after several risk analysis. All consignments declared by the clearing agents in the list to be considered as high risk,” said Mr Kaguru in the letter. KRA red lists entities that it finds to have higher tax risks.
The taxman further stated that going forward, and from the date of the issuance of the memo all kitenge and textile materials must be verified 100 percent, all photos taken and attached in the system.
The taxman, currently racing to bring more people into the tax bracket and curb tax cheating in the quest to meet targets, says that to enhance compliance, long room pass will be issued upon review by HDO officers on duty.
All cargo release at station level must also be approved online by the station managers.
Station managers must also be enjoined and given online approval before release of the consignments.
“The purpose of this communication therefore, is to request Document Process Centers, National Targeting Centers and the release stations to make appropriate arrangements to comply,” he says.
The taxman is putting the 20 clearing and forwarding firms on its black book at a time it has tightened its nose on tax cheats in the country.
It has been intensifying its crackdown on tax cheats using various databases, including bank statements, import records, motor vehicle registration details, Kenya Power records, water bills and data from the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority, which reveals individuals who own assets such as aircraft.
The taxman has in the past two years also been seeking details of suppliers and contractors hired by county governments. This followed a steep increase in imports of the luxury goods and multi-million-shilling investments in real estate—an indication that some crooks could be evading payment of tax.
Last week, KRA Commissioner-General Githii Mburu said his officers are now spending time on social media, trolling Kenyans posting photos of luxurious cars, throwing expensive parties, living lavishly to ensure their taxes are in tandem with their image.
The taxman wants socialites and individuals who display lavish lifestyles on the interwebs to pay their fair share of taxes as it races to bring more people into the tax bracket.
KRA started the new financial year on an upward trajectory after surpassing its July-September 2021 target of Sh461.6 billion by Sh15 billion, representing a 30 percent growth.
Cumulatively, the KRA collected Sh631 billion between July and October 2021 against a target of Sh603.9 billion, translating to a performance rate of 104.5 percent, a growth of 28.3 percent and a surplus of Sh27 billion.