Bank shares customer data with the Kenya Revenue Authority. The main data that is being shared by these banks with Kenya’s taxman is their foreign account holders.
The Kenya Revenue Authority
Kenyan banks are now required to provide the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) with information regarding their foreign account holders, while the KRA is reciprocally obtaining data about resident taxpayers with offshore accounts. This initiative is part of the common reporting standards (CRS), a collaboration among countries aimed at sharing taxpayer information to combat tax evasion, devised by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
How This Framework Will Function
Under this framework, banks are disclosing various details to the tax authority, including account balances, addresses, dates of birth, and ID numbers for individual account holders, and registration information and details of corporate leadership for companies. This process began following the signing of regulations by the Treasury Cabinet Secretary last year, mandating Kenyan banks and financial institutions to share information regarding accounts held by foreigners with the KRA.
The KRA Will Share Information with 106 Other Countries
Remarkably, the KRA will share this information with 106 other countries, including well-known tax havens such as Switzerland and the Cayman Islands. Consequently, individuals who believed their offshore holdings were discreet are now subject to scrutiny.
This effort is part of a broader strategy to combat the concealment of funds in offshore accounts. Similar to the reporting of large cash transactions by banks, the KRA will scrutinize accounts owned by foreign nationals holding more than $250,000 (approximately KSh 40 million).
Expert Analysis of This Development
However, experts caution that while pursuing these measures, utmost care must be taken to safeguard customer privacy, particularly in accordance with the Data Protection Act. In summary, individuals with funds stashed in foreign accounts should be prepared for potential inquiries from tax authorities in the near future.
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