AFRICA: KRA granted more power to access Kenyans' bank accounts.

As published on pulselive.co.ke, Thursday 16 December, 2021.

The National Treasury has disclosed that it is on the verge of inking an agreement with tax organisations in 100 countries that will make it easy for all countries involved to share and report financial information.

The regulations which will be effected at the start of 2022, will compel banks, trusts and other financial institutions to report information about foreigners holding accounts and assets to tax authorities from their home countries.

This means that Kenya Revenue Authority will be able to access accounts of Kenyans who have money in foreign countries and also submit information about foreigners with wealth in Kenya.

“These regulations shall come into operation on January 1, 2022,” reads a legal notice signed by Treasury CS Ukur Yatani.

The laws will also require financial institutions to probe all existing accounts with balances of Sh28.22 million and above, starting June 30, 2022.

Some of the territories that have signed the agreement are tax havens such as Switzerland, Panama, Cayman Islands, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Mauritius, Jersy and Monaco.

The new regulations gives the tax man more power to monitor suspicious activity in the accounts.

“Reporting financial institutions shall transmit to the Commissioner of Information Return…the information to be reported not later than May 31 of the year following the year in respect of which the declaration is filed,” reads the regulation in part.

The international agreements signed between KRA and other tax authorities have seen the tax man clamp down on businessesmen whose information has been kept secret for years.

Over the past years, KRA has engaged businesses and investors in the crackdown against tax evasion and ill-gotten wealth.

Companies that previously hid information about their ownership have had to comply with the new regulations or risk closure and hefty fines.

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