NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 5 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has asked the Kenya Revenue Authority to engage with tax evaders, especially those who have not evaded knowingly and are not involved in criminal conduct.
Speaking during the Annual Taxpayers’ Day and Luncheon, Kenyatta said KRA should aim at meeting taxpayers halfway and deliver immediate tax collection, rather than taking them to court, which results in long court processes.
“Do not punish people who have not committed a crime, especially if they did not evade paying taxes to steal. Engage them first before taking them to court, it is easier and not as time consuming as court processes,” Kenyatta said.
KRA has been aggressively trying to eliminate tax evasion in the country and made several arrests and prosecutions.
In the last three months for instance, the taxman has brought charges against several individuals, including some of its employees as the fight against tax cheats intensifies.
The agent won a Sh2.3 billion case against a Dubai-based company which had moved to court to prevent KRA from collecting the tax debts.
Towards the end of September, KRA took three tax agents to court for fraudulently aiding two companies to reduce their tax liability, a crime that the Treasury has for long suspected has denied it revenues.
The Authority says that it has so far unearthed of over Sh60 billion worth of taxes evaded which it is in the process of recovering
The crackdown has also affected high profile businesspeople among them Tabitha Karanja, owner of Keroche breweries and billionaire businessman Humphrey Kariuki.
Keroche Breweries owners Tabitha Karanja and her husband Joseph Karanja were arrested in August over tax evasion of Sh14.4 billion following orders from the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji.
Earlier this year, the court was ordered to freeze accounts of nine companies associated with Kariuki over a Sh41 billion tax evasion case.
The Authority says that it has so far unearthed of over Sh60 billion worth of taxes evaded which it is in the process of recovering.