Taxing Property Owners

The last two weeks has seen a few signals on what seems to be untapped tax resources available to the Kenya Government from the real estate sector. During the recent controversial debate on taxation that ended with a move by parliamentarians to raise their own salaries, the issue of a capital gains tax on land & property was discussed, but set aside.

Despite that setback, the Kenya Revenue Authority has issued three notices in rapid succession.

First that all government taxes to be paid through either KCB, NBK, Co-Op, Equity or Central Bank. In past seminars, KCA has touted some of these banks as having online banking systems that share details of tax payers & payments directly to KRA – negating the need to fill out extra copies or make separate cumbersome periodic filings (EDIT: this has now been delayed to January 2013)

Then came another notice from KRA calling on tenants to provide information on who their landlords were – such as name, address, property location, rent amount, bank details etc.

Finally, there was another one yesterday with KRA seeking providers to supply a geographic information system to tie in property locations with Google Earth with tax  & property information and pictures or street maps.

Despite stamp duty being collected on property investments and transfers it remains to be seen how much more of that along with Value Added Tax (VAT) on rental income tax can be identified and collected from the new measures.