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Nowhere to hide for landlords and investors who thrive on tax evasion

By Allan Mungai | September 9th 2021

Lands CS Faridah Karoney. [Courtesy]

Landowners and investors who fail to pay taxes have their days numbered.

The government is rolling out a new system that will expose those who cheat the government out of property taxes.

Lands and Physical Planning Cabinet Secretary Farida Karoney said Ardhisasa, the digital land management system launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta in April, would not only improve the quality of services and increase revenue collection but also expose tax loopholes.

“We want to secure rights but we also want to ensure land and property owners honour their responsibilities and obligations before tax administration regimes,” said Ms Karoney.

The CS was speaking when she opened the African Tax Research Network (ATRN) Congress on Tuesday. 

She said the system is aimed at securing the rights of landowners.

Karoney said the digital data on land records would be integrated across all sectors of government and the economy to allow sharing of information.

“I don't think you can expand the tax base in this sector if you're relying on manual records to collect taxes," she said. Parts of the system that will be integrated include land administration and land use planning, surveying and mapping.

“So that revenue and tax administrators are aware which property they are taxing, where they are and if need to the georeferencing of property will take them to the scene where they need to assess the tax," she said.

The system will also integrate valuation services, land adjudication rating for taxation, land rate and registration processes. ArdhiSasa went live on April 27, migrating key land transactions in Nairobi and ending the phenomenon of missing files, lengthy and prohibitive processes, punishing queues at land registries.

Karoney said land had become emotive because it had not been well managed. She said the reforms were based on efficiency, productivity, equity and sustainability in holding and use of land. 

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