|John Njiraini, KRA Commissioner-General. |
Photo courtesy: Nation
With the treasury under constant pressure to increase its tax collection to fund various projects, including the Standard Gauge Railway as well as finance devolution costs, Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has resorted to the Finance law with the aim of giving the tax collection authority free access to taxpayers’ bank accounts without necessarily getting a court order.
This is part of the proposed Finance Bill which if enacted will take effect in June this year.
KRA Commissioner-General John Njiraini said that the new law was part of the government’s effort to improve tax collection by curbing the rampant tax evasion. This revelation was announced after the tax collector fell Kshs 69 billion short of tax collection targets for the 9 months ending March 2016.
“We expect some amendments to the law that will enable us to link up with banks directly, giving us information about businesses and individuals on an ongoing basis,” Njiraini was quoted in the Business Daily.
If the Finance Bill is enacted, it is expected to help KRA trace individuals and businesses with huge sums of cash in bank accounts relative to their declared sources of income; such individuals are required to pay tax for the surpluses of cash they cannot spend.
The move has been motivated by Commercial banks refusal to disclose the details of their clients’ transactions without a court order on the ground that it surmounts to breach of customer’s confidentiality.