KRA warns over fake rental tax consultants
The Kenya Revenue Authority has warned the public to beware of cons passing themselves off as its officers to transact business on its behalf. The cons are visiting premises purporting to handle real estate and rental income tax matters, claiming they can assist individuals and companies to avoid paying accrued real estate income taxes and penalties due.
The revenue collection agency has advised the public to always ascertain the identities of officers and contact KRA station managers near them in case of doubt. “It has come to our attention that there are unscrupulous groups asking taxpayers to pay money to be assisted to avoid payment of taxes due on rental income. They are also misleading taxpayers on tax compliance and legal provisions thereof,” KRA said in a notice that has been running for a whole week.
Kennedy Onyonyi, KRA deputy commissioner for communications, said the cons are prowling across the country and are brave enough to advertise in newspapers. “The problem is widespread, that's why we are warning the public as we investigate. We'll take legal measures on those misleading others,” he said. A number of ‘tax consultants’ have placed paid-up adverts in newspapers urging individuals and companies to register with them to be assisted to “legally avoid paying income tax and land rates”.
One such consultant is purporting to also help defer or stagger payment of real estate income taxes over a 10-year period minus penalties, citing legal provisions. “Taxpayers are advised to always seek advice from the recognised professional groups for their tax matters,” KRA said. It has issued a list of contacts of 25 stations in different regions and taxpayer categories. It is urging taxpayers to either consult KRA offices or members of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya on tax matters.
KRA has in recent months been conducting campaigns urging taxpayers to declare incomes from real estate, a sector whose revenues have remained minimal despite it recording growth in the last decade. “We definitely expect to collect more from the sector, but there’s still need for more sensitisation and re-assurance to the public for people to come forward,” said Onyonyi.
Several state agencies including local authorities, KRA, National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA), water resources boards, the judiciary and district environment offices are involved in administration of land and environment taxes in the country.