Kenya Revenue Authority building Times Tower Nairobi

As it intensifies its fight against tax evasion, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) plans to spend Sh109.93 million on information collection and forensic analysis technologies.

KRA anticipates spending Sh29.93 million on a surveillance collecting system and Sh80 million on forensic science equipment, according to an annual procurement plan for 2022-2023.

In May of this year, the taxman made known that it was establishing a cutting-edge forensic lab that would enable it to extract data, including secret accounts and records, from taxpayers' computers and mobile phones to identify tax and financial fraud.

According to KRA, the purpose of the digital lab will be to forensically acquire, extract, and find electronic evidence.

The department said in a declaration on the new laboratory that "a lot of information that was gathered during inquiries is of a digital investigative nature, such as e-mails, texts, video, audio, image files, and other transactional data on hard discs and other storage media."

To reassemble the transactions while offering insights into complex crimes, it was emphasised that the investigations of such crimes "require sophisticated data acquisition, mining, analytics, and storage tools in addition to technical expertise."

The initiative by the taxman's newly established intelligence management division coincides with a significant movement among firms towards electronic record-keeping and internet transactions in place of conventional paper-based accounting systems.

Currently, many significant firms, including several multinationals and mobile phone carriers, provide KRA staff with floppy copies of their transaction records.

However, the move to online transactions has presented challenges for tax audit and investigation teams due to certain businesses' rising propensity to conceal their true financial activities and accounts.

The KRA's vigorous tax recovery and collection efforts helped increase revenue collection by a fifth in the year ending in June 2022, the greatest yearly growth margin ever seen by the organisation.

It exceeded the previous record of 21% observed in the 2006/2007 fiscal year with revenue growth of 21.7 Percent, or Sh148.9 billion, to reach Sh2.03 trillion.

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