The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) is set to employ a real-time monitoring approach for transactions occurring within mobile merchant accounts, including Safaricom’s Lipa Na M-Pesa.
This initiative involves integrating the KRA’s system with those of telecommunications companies, drawing inspiration from a previous successful collaboration with betting firms that effectively identified tax evaders. According to sources at the Business Daily, the KRA has taken preliminary measures to establish continuous oversight over the substantial annual transactions, amounting to trillions of shillings, conducted through the telecommunications infrastructure. The primary objective is to identify instances where both telcos and traders inaccurately report their taxable income, thus evading taxes.
The tax authority has assembled a dedicated team responsible for outlining the specific methods for merging its existing systems at the Times Towers with the systems employed by telecommunications companies. Once this integration is accomplished, the KRA will be empowered to instantly access transaction details, enabling efficient tax assessment aligned with President William Ruto’s directive of maximizing revenue collection.
David Mwangi, the acting commissioner for the domestic tax department, elaborated that this process is currently in its preliminary testing stages.
He mentioned, “We are in the initial phases of piloting the integration with telcos. The primary aim is to augment real-time transaction visibility, thereby generating daily patterns that will inform compliance strategies to improve revenue generation.”
Nonetheless, the primary target of this endeavour remains traders who, despite accumulating substantial profits through mobile money platforms, have consistently reported lower earnings to evade tax obligations. An additional insider from the Times Towers divulged that the KRA intends to scrutinize the amassed data meticulously. The purpose is to identify traders whose digital account transactions, particularly through platforms like Safaricom’s Lipa na M-Pesa Pay Bill and Till wallets, do not align with the taxes they have actually remitted based on their reported sales.
The undisclosed KRA official emphasized, “The integration is poised to provide us with a comprehensive overview of all digital account transactions. Naturally, we anticipate a surge in revenue collection as a consequence of the detailed analysis of these transactions.”