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Economy

KRA banks on tech to net 3m new taxpayers in three years

John Njiraini
KRA commissioner -general John Njiraini. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The taxman has set a target to nearly double the number of active taxpayers to seven million in the next three years by spying on homes and businesses using technology to flash out cheats.

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) says it intends to net at least 3.06 million new taxpayers by 2021, commissioner-general John Njiraini said Wednesday, largely citing heavy deployment of technological systems installed in recent years.

“Technology is… (helping us) understand what people do, intelligence will see us work like a proper intelligence agency —collecting information. And we are seeing incredible results from the intelligence that we are collecting,” Mr Njiraini said when the agency unveiled a three-year corporate plan running through June 2021, its seventh blueprint.

“So we are convinced that the seventh corporate intelligence plan is going to be a different ball game because of the foundation that we have laid (through investment in technology).”

Compliance levels

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Increased compliance level, projected to rise to 65 percent in June 2021 from 59 percent in June 2018, is expected to help rake in Sh6.1 trillion in the three-year period through June 2021.

This comprises the Sh1.78 trillion target in the current year, Sh1.97 trillion in 2019/20 and Sh2.28 trillion in 2020/20.

KRA said implementation of the strategy will cost taxpayers Sh103.69 billion, an average of Sh34.56 billion per year.

“We may not always get all the funding that we require, but we have reached a level of understanding with the Treasury in terms of how we should prioritise allocation to KRA and also look at ways by which KRA funding can be ring-fenced,” said Mr Njiraini.

IT systems

Some of the IT systems the taxman has heavily invested in include iTax, the online tax filing system, Integrated Customs Management System (iCMS) for real-time monitoring of goods entering the country through the Mombasa port and airports, and Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS) for transit cargo.

The agency, which has consistently underperformed revenue collection targets set by the Treasury in recent years, is also banking on enforcement of the presumptive taxation regime for micro- and small-sized businesses from January 1 to ramp up numbers in the tax net.

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