Economy

KRA to hire 6,600 in war against tax cheats

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Summary

  • KRA is making another attempt to increase its workforce to approved staffing levels of 14,555 from the current 7,955 employees.
  • A total of 1,049 officers were recruited in three years through June 2021, a quarter of the 3,900 more workers the agency had targeted.

The taxman plans to hire 6,604 more officers in three years in a bid to raise nearly Sh1 trillion additional revenue through the pursuit of tax cheats such as shrewd high-net-worth individuals and landlords.

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) is making another attempt to increase its workforce to approved staffing levels of 14,555 from the current 7,955 employees, it says in its strategic plan running between July 2021 and June 2024.

A total of 1,049 officers were recruited in three years through June 2021, a quarter of the 3,900 more workers the agency had targeted.

The taxman earlier this year partly blamed understaffing for persistent shortfalls in revenue targets set by the Treasury.

This prompted the Finance and National Planning Committee of the National Assembly in January to direct the Treasury to provide funding for hiring 2,000 additional staff for the Kenya Revenue Authority.

“To effectively implement this corporate plan, recruitment of staff to optimal levels will paramount,” KRA strategists wrote in the corporate guideline for the review period.

“The focus will be to bridge the staff gaps as well as address gaps in critical and highly specialised skills.”

The taxman collected an estimated Sh4.85 trillion in the three years through June 2021, missing the revenue goal by Sh49.9 billion.

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Active taxpayers grew 2.16 million to 6.1 million in the review period against a targeted growth of 3.06 million.

The taxman has set sights on netting additional two million taxpayers in three years through June 2024, targeting to collect Sh6.83 trillion — comprising Sh1.90 trillion this fiscal year, Sh2.27 trillion in 2022/23 and Sh2.66 trillion in the one ending June 2024.

The KRA has identified real estate (landlords), high net-worth individuals, small-scale traders, especially those in informal settings and businesses operating online, among others, as sectors with high potential for growing revenue.

“We shall seal revenue leakages through a multi-faceted programme that will entail curbing corruption among our staff and tax evasion by taxpayers as we deploy our robust intelligence network to penetrate corruption and tax evasion cartels to bring to bear the consequences of evading taxes and engaging in corrupt practices,” KRA commissioner-general Githii Mburu said on June 24.

The Intelligence and Strategic Operations unit of the KRA — tasked with detecting tax evasion schemes — will get 110 additional staff in the three years.

This will bring the total workforce under the unit to 322, nearly four times from 80 staff in the 2018/19 fiscal year.