Thursday, May 26, 2022

Kenya Revenue Authority is Tracking ‘Lifestyles of Targeted Taxpayers’

*The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has confirmed that it tracks the content posted to social media usage by Kenyans in an effort to enforce tax compliance.

As reported by BBC, Kenya’s taxman uses communication technology such as “blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine learning and data mining technologies,” to monitor the lavish items, including gifts, meals, clothing, and vacation photos that taxpayers are posting on social media.

“KRA has a dedicated team whose work, apart from other intelligence-led risk-based analysis, is to look at lifestyles of targeted taxpayers.

“This may in some instances involve viewing the social media profiles of targeted individuals,” a KRA spokesperson shared with the outlet.

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When asked by the BBC interviewer, “Isn’t this an infringement on people’s privacy?” The KRA spokesperson said, “No, the KRA does not infringe on anyone’s right of privacy as what they post is for public viewing and in public social media.”

Here’s more from the BBC report:

How does the KRA go about reconciling someone’s lifestyle – as portrayed on social media – with their tax compliance? After all, the property or goods they show online may not actually belong to them. Well, it turns out the taxman has a very effective media monitoring team that scans the landscape to see if what we are flaunting flouts the tax declaration rules.

“KRA can then check whether the declared sources of income and taxes paid are commensurate to the portrayed lifestyle. Also note that KRA is enabled to access and exchange information with other government agencies through the Multi-Agency Team framework.”

That sounds scary. Actually, when the KRA commissioner general said that the authority used technology for tax compliance surveillance, his video clip went viral and Kenyans went bananas to declare their wealth.

“There has been a steady rise in the number of individual taxpayers rushing to verify their tax compliance status. Recently, we had more than 60% rise in the number of tax compliance certificates applications lodged on the online i-Tax platform.”

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.

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