The Kenya Revenue Authority has embarked on a social media platforms monitoring spree targeting rich Kenyans displaying lavish lifestyles on social media but filing nil tax returns.
The Revenue Authority according to Commissioner-General Githii Mburu has deployed officers to social media, to keenly monitor photos and videos of luxurious cars, expensive parties, lavish living and homes in a bid to identify persons in the photos and make comparisons on whether the tax they pay resonates the lifestyle they portray.
KRA is seeking to bring more people into the tax bracket and curb tax cheating and evasion in the quest to meet targets. The taxman will smoke out tax evaders through sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Entertainers, ‘soft life’ generation, socialites and Kenyans who are splashing their lives on social media are the main targets with the taxman saying every Kenyan must pay their fair share of taxes.
If found culpable, the tax evaders risk travel bans, collection of duty directly from their suppliers and bankers and prosecution.
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 in an interview with the Business Daily.
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.
The KRA is flagging wealthy individuals that have been hiding their sources of income while engaging in luxury spending and accumulation of property, including purchase of homes and big cars. Car registration details are also being used to smoke out individuals who have little to show in terms of taxes remitted.
In its latest tax performance update, KRA collected Sh154.3 billion in October 2021 against a target of Sh142.2 billion.
Kenya’s tax to Gross Domestic Product ratio stands at 13.8 percent, indicating the need to continue enhancing tax collection and reducing tax expenditure in the form of exemptions and incentives to achieve the desired rate of more than 20 percent.
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