Taxpayers will now have to comply with the Kenya Revenue Authorities (KRA) demands after the High court dismissed a suit by Activist Okiya Omtatah challenging sections of the tax law that offered the taxman access to people’s premises, records and devices.
Omtatah had challenged Sections 57, 58(2), 59 and 99 of the Tax Procedures Act, arguing that it violated taxpayers’ privacy by offering the tax entity full access to their dwellings, records and gadgets like computers and mobile phones.
Justice Weldon Korir in his ruling noted that Mr Omtatah had failed to provide proof of how the laws were intrusive in pursuit of tax cheats. He also said the bills was passed through public participation before they became law.
“There is therefore sufficient and substantial reason for the limitation of the right (to privacy), as it is KRA’s mandate to ensure that all citizens abide by the laws relating to taxes and where they fail to do so, they are properly brought to justice with sufficient evidence to support the allegation,” The judge stated. “It is obvious why the government collects taxes and why it is important that all taxpayers comply with tax laws.”
In a move to nab more tax cheats KRA has an enforcement unit which has been making use of various databases including bank statements, import records, car registration details, Kenya Power records, water bills and even data from the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCCA).
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