Expert: Why KRA is imposing custom checks at JKIA

Tax professional and Bright Africa Limited CEO Evan Kithinji during an interview with Spice FM on Wednesday, November 1, 2023. [Screen Grab]

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) continues to face backlash from a post on Monday, October 30, saying that travelers will be subjected to tax on any items worth Sh75,000 (USD500) and above.

According to Evans Kithinji, a tax expert, the move was long overdue as it is stipulated in the Constitution.

Speaking on Spice FM on Wednesday, November 1, Kithinji said the Constitution demanded that such goods be taxed, but that KRA failed to do so to date.

The tax expert averred that with the pressure from the government to reach their target, KRA is now sealing loopholes to achieve tax collection revenue.

“They have been put in a place where the demand to meet targets is so high and what they are doing is t revisiting the Constitution and looking for laws that are in place but haven’t been maximized,” said Kithinji.

On Monday, the Authority notified that all restricted items should be declared to Customs before departing or upon immediate arrival to Kenya.

Among the items listed are cameras and filming accessories.

Kenyans took issue with some items on the list, saying that by imposing taxes on such equipment, the number of tourists visiting the country would be affected.

However, Kithinji explains that tourists arriving in the country have always been charged for their equipment but in a different way as their items are not subjected to in-depth reviews.

“Items by tourists which are mostly electronics are temporarily declared. This means that they have a one-off payment and will be required to write down the period during which they will be in the country which is not more than three months. It is different from someone who is bringing their items for business or other reasons,” he said.

For those relocating back to the country, Kithinji adds they will not be subjected to any tax.

But, chances can be minimal and the process can take up to two years depending on the items being shipped into the country.

“The taxes are inevitable and Kenyans should just oblige,” he said.

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