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KRA to set up new Nairobi CBD office to nab tax cheats

KRA staffer assists clients file tax returns at its Nyeri office on June 29, 2019. [Kibata Kihu, Standard]

The taxman wants to open a new office in Nairobi’s Central Business District (CBD) to improve taxpayer service and tax administration.

Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) says in internal documents seen by Financial Standard that it is seeking to lease a fairly new building within the CBD for the next six years.

“KRA wants to lease office space for Kenya Revenue Authority within Nairobi CBD for six years. The building must be located close to the public transport system,” says KRA. “The building should be easily accessible by staff and customers during day and night.”

The move would give KRA, headquartered at the Times Tower building along Haile Selassie Avenue, Nairobi closer proximity to businesses located at the heart of the CBD.

The taxman is also eyeing to open newer offices in several towns to decentralise its tax administration. KRA’s services are also offered in Huduma Centres. KRA is under pressure from the State to enforce the tax law fairly and efficiently to increase voluntary compliance and narrow the tax gap.

KRA is expected to tighten the noose on taxpayers after President William Ruto set a target to double tax collections by the end of his first term in office in 2027.

He gave KRA a target of Sh3 trillion by the end of the next financial year and to double it over the next five years, noting that while improving, tax collections remain far below the potential.

KRA collected Sh2.03 trillion in the financial year to June 2022. The directive to increase tax collections came even as the President and his Deputy Rigathi Gachagua accused the taxman of treating taxpayers harshly.

President Ruto also directed KRA to seal revenue leaks and evaluate ways to expand the tax base while approaching the taxpayer in a non-confrontational but firm manner to increase tax collection in line with his new targets.

“I expect KRA to raise Sh3 trillion by the end of the next financial year and to double the current collection in five years,” said the President.

He said his administration would ensure all taxpayers paid their fair share of taxes while avoiding instances where one segment of the population is overburdened while the other has it easy.

KRA surpassed its revenue collection targets for the second year in a row during the financial year to June 2022. It collected Sh2.03 trillion during the year, against a target of Sh1.976 trillion. The higher collections are attributed to improved compliance.