KRA is coming for ‘wealthy’ Kenyans who display their rich lifestyle on social media yet remit no tax.
In an interview with Business Daily, Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Commissioner-General Githii Mburu said his officers are now spending time on social media, looking for Kenyans posting photos of luxurious cars, throwing expensive parties and living lavishly.
This will be a direct hit on social media influencers and socialites splashing their photos on social media.
The taxman has a team focused on smoking out tax cheats through sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.
“In the social media, we have some people posting some nice things. You would see some posting nice houses, cars, taking their families to nice places and so on. Here, we are not sleeping, when we see those, we see taxes,” Mr Mburu said.
Those also targeted are owners of private cars.
“We have our officers looking, they have gadgets. They key in very quickly (the number plate) to check. We are working exceptionally hard,” he said.
He said this could explain in part the reason for his success, having exceeded his tax collections target for this year by Sh27 billion.
The clampdown on the rich is part of the commitment that Kenya made to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to recover unpaid taxes from high-net worth professionals and traders in efforts to raise the national revenues.
Besides searching social media sites, the Authority has been using various databases to pursue suspected tax cheats, among them bank statements, import records, motor vehicle registration details, Kenya Power records, water bills and data from the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCCA), which reveal individuals who own assets such as helicopters.
Mr Mburu says a huge chunk of Kenyans building houses are not paying taxes on claims the properties are products of bank loans.
“We know you can build a house from loans. But that loan must be repaid from somewhere. We are following all those applying for meters”.