Thursday, May 26, 2022

KRA sets up forensic lab to nab tax cheats

The paradigm shift to online transactions is to some extent hampering tax auditing and investigation as some firms have converted their online accounts to safe havens concealing their actual financial transactions and accounts therein.

With the taxman hard-pressed to collect 1.8 trillion shillings to finance the 2021/2022 budget, the agency is setting up an advanced forensic laboratory that will allow it to mine data, including hidden accounts and records, from taxpayers’ computers and mobile phones to detect tax and financial fraud.

Password protection in digital records has proven a challenge for tax investigators and auditors seeking to get full access to all data from computers or phones seized during investigations into suspected fraud or tax evasion.

“The investigations of such crimes require sophisticated data acquisition, mining, analytics, and storage tools in addition to technical expertise to reconstruct the transactions and provide insights into complex crimes,”

the agency said.

Several large corporations, including some multinationals and mobile phone operators, presently surrender records of their transactions to KRA teams in soft copy.

Kenyans applying for jobs won’t need KRA, CRB, EACC, DCI clearance

KRA disclosed that it will enlist special software to access data from Macintosh computers, iPhones, iPads and other smartphones.

“The tool should also be compatible and have the ability to extract, analyze data from all types of phones and tablets, should include full range of peripherals and accessories needed for mobile forensic investigations, including connectors…

faraday bags, memory card readers, SIM and micro-SIM ID Cloning cards, the camera of capturing images of the data or screenshots directly from the device…”

the taxman disclosed in a tender call for supplies to the forensic lab.

In its budget for the financial year ended June 30, 2021, KRA set aside Sh31.19 million to acquire an intelligence-gathering system as it steps up its war on tax evasion.

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