- Whistleblowers have reported suspected cases of tax evasion worth 2.1 billion shillings in the six months to May using an online reporting platform, preparing them for a cash reward from the tax collector.
- The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) says it has identified 359 businesses and individuals for possible tax evasion from voluntary reports submitted by whistleblowers concealing their identity.
Whistleblowers have reported suspected cases of tax evasion worth 2.1 billion shillings in the six months to May using an online reporting platform, preparing them for a cash reward from the tax collector.
The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) says it has identified 359 companies and individuals for possible tax evasion from voluntary reports submitted by whistleblowers concealing their identity.
The maximum reward for individuals providing information leading to tax recovery is 2 million shillings or five percent of the tax, whichever is less, a value that will more than double to 5 million shillings if legislators support the changes to the KRA Act.
Those whose information leads to the identification of taxes not assessed currently pay up to Sh100,000, but this will increase to Sh500,000 if the legal amendments from the Treasury become law.
Intelligence and Strategic Operations Commissioner Terra Saidimu says Times Tower detectives have begun verifying transactions made over the years by suspected tax scammers who are remotely denounced by whistleblowers.
The tax collector is looking for bank statements and other transactions from third parties, such as telecommunications and utilities companies such as Kenya Power, from the named companies and merchants, Dr. Saidimu said.
Last November, the KRA launched the web-based anonymous reporting system, called iWhistle, which provides a whistleblowing framework for reporting tax evasions such as bribery, fraud, conflict of interest, abuse of power, concealment and diversion of load.
“Once we receive the information, we take it through our validation process. At the end of May, we had (identified) 359 whistles with around 2.1 billion shillings in our own assessment, ”said the KRA spy chief.
“We get more information from banks and also from other third parties. We then consolidate them, write a profile, and then forward them for investigation or compliance. “
A low-compliance case means that the taxpayer has evaded taxes in error and is generally asked to provide documentary evidence and is facilitated with the registration, filing, and payment of taxes owed.
This is different from an investigative case where the taxpayer is believed to have deliberately avoided tax obligations and generally leads to prosecution.
Before iWhistle went live, the tax collector relied on walk-ins, emails, and phone calls made through the Complaint and Information Center for suggestions, a technique that has had limited success in partly because it requires informants to submit their personal data.
Under the iWhistle platform, a whistleblower is assigned a special code to identify them once they report a tax crime on the website, hiding their real identity.
The Secretary of the Treasury, Ukur Yatani, has explained that the improved rewards have been necessary for “the complexities and changing dynamics in the collection of information” and “will strengthen tax compliance and collection of revenues.
KRA staff and public service officials charged with tax compliance are excluded from the reward that comes from volunteering information that leads to the identification of unappreciated taxes or the recovery of taxes.