Economy

Sh5m payout for tax evasion whistleblowers

times-tower
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Summary

  • Whistleblowers who expose tax cheats will have their reward doubled from the current amount in proposed changes to the taxation law.
  • Treasury secretary Ukur Yatani has proposed changes to the KRA Act that will see whistleblowers paid a maximum of Sh5 million if their report leads to recovery of due taxes.

Whistleblowers who expose tax cheats will have their reward doubled from the current amount in proposed changes to the taxation law, in a bid to tighten the noose on individuals and companies failing to declare taxes.

Treasury secretary Ukur Yatani has proposed changes to the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Act that will see whistleblowers paid a maximum of Sh5 million if their report leads to recovery of due taxes. This is more than double the current cap of Sh2 million or five percent of the recovered tax, whichever is lower.

The reward for persons who provide information leading to the identification of un-assessed taxes has also been increased to Sh500,000 from Sh100,000, if the amendment is backed by the lawmakers.

“This will encourage receipt of voluntary information to KRA thereby bolstering tax compliance and revenue collection,” Mr Yatani said in his Budget speech yesterday.

This, he said, has been necessitated by “the complexities and changing dynamics on intelligence gathering” and were aimed at empowering the taxman to curb tax malpractices by individuals and companies.

The KRA operates an anonymous online reporting platform, dubbed iWhistle, providing a whistle-blower framework for reporting tax evasions such as bribery, fraud, conflict of interest, abuse of office, concealment, and diversion of cargo.

Mr Yatani added that some 502 cases have been reported to the channel from the general public since launch.

“There are various ways that some unpatriotic individuals are using to evade payment of their tax liabilities,” he said.

“For example, we have noted in our i-tax system perennial non-compliant taxpayers; defaulters; payment returns without payment; non-filers; nil filers; credit filers; stop filers and decliners. In addition, some traders and merchants are not registered at all for tax purposes.”

Mr Yatani is further seeking amendment to the Tax Procedures Act, 2015 to enable KRA to start sharing tax data with about 140 jurisdictions under the Multilateral Convention for Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (MAC).

Kenya ratified the convention on July 22, 2020.

“In addition, I propose to amend the Tax Procedures Act to empower the Kenya Revenue Authority to seek intervention of other agencies to facilitate compliance with the provisions of the digital service tax,” Mr Yatani said.