KRA in fresh push to net Airbnb hosts evading taxes 

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KRA has written to Airbnb to request transaction data covering the period January 1, 2021, to December 31, 2022. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has written to Airbnb, the online marketplace for short and long-term homestays, to request transaction data covering the period January 1, 2021, to December 31, 2022, as it narrows down on Kenyan hosts who have been evading taxes.

Airbnb Ireland UC which serves as the data controller for the personal data of all users of Airbnb Kenya has revealed the demand from the tax man with the disclosures expected to identify hosts and details of their earnings on the platform.

“KRA has issued an exchange of information request to the Irish Tax Authority-Irish Revenue, seeking certain information on Kenya hosts, and Irish Revenue has formally requested Airbnb to share this information, which we are legally obliged to,” Airbnb disclosed in a statement.

Irish Revenue is expected to communicate with each Kenyan user, whose data is being shared, that their data is being sent to KRA under an exchange of information request.

KRA is expected to use information obtained from the exchange of information requests to make tax assessments and potentially issue respective tax demands on Airbnb hosts.

Kenya is part of the African Initiative by the OECD Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes.

Exchange of information or EOI is an initiative to fight tax evasion and other illicit financial flows while generating additional tax revenues.

Hosts of short and long-term rental properties would be liable for rental income tax, which is currently set at 10 percent of gross rent received but the rate is expected to drop to 7.5 percent beginning in January next year.

Data obtained from Airbnb would help KRA map out additional rental properties in the country which would fall under the ambits of the tax.

On its part, Airbnb is liable for the payment of digital services tax which is set at the rate of 1.5 percent of the gross transactional value and is exclusive of VAT.

KRA could not immediately confirm its demand for data from Airbnb.

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