NAIROBI, Kenya, October 11 – Olympic and world 800m record holder David Rudisha and world 10,000m and 5,000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot are among a group of Kenyan athletes protesting against tax demands on prize money earned abroad.
“This is very unfair. We have used much of our earnings to contribute to the Kenyan economy. We bring money home to put up investments, which are already heavily taxed by the government,” said Cheruiyot.
The athletes received letters from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) last week, which required them to pay tax from their race earnings abroad.
The KRA said they were targetting only athletes who have paid less than 30 per cent in taxation in the countries where they have won the money, but some of the runners said they have been ordered to pay a hefty amount of in tax arrears.
In one case an athlete has been asked to pay up 50 million shillings (602,409 dollars) in back tax.
The athletes, who are to hold talks with Athletics Kenya officials on Saturday, have termed the move by the tax collector as punitive.
Athletics officials and coaches have also warned that the sport would suffer a serious talent drain if the taxmen follows through the demand for its share in the athletes’ foreign earnings.