The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) plans to investigate the e-taxi service, Uber’s tax paying history.
Commissioner for Domestic Taxes Benson Korongo told the National Assembly Transport Committee that the agency wants to find out if Uber and other electronic taxi services in the country have been remitting all the money due to the government.
“On returns filed, I will not say that we are happy. We would like them to take into account the cross-border nature of their business. Issues of taxes being lost is something that you cannot rule out. Uber is one of the taxpayers we have profiled and would like to look into their transactions so that we are satisfied that what we collect is the correct amount,” Mr Korongo told the Maina Kamanda-led committee.
The lawmakers were concerned that Uber has only filed Sh31 million in taxes despite collecting high revenues.
The company said it remitted Sh7 million in pay-as-you-earn tax, Sh19 million in value-added tax, and Sh5 million in income tax.
According to KRA, there is no proof that Uber has been remitting all the taxes due because of the cross-border nature of its business.
While Uber International is registered in the United States, it has operations in Kenya through its local holding company, Uber Kenya.
Uber International takes home 25 per cent of all money collected by more than 4,000 operators in Nairobi and Mombasa before redirecting part of the revenue to fund its local office.
The MPs expressed dissatisfaction with Uber’s tax returns.
“There are people taking a lot of money out of this country and they have paid only Sh31 million? Is this what KRA has managed to get out of the billions collected by Uber? Does it mean that so long as something is paid by Uber, then we are comfortable?” asked Mr Kamanda.
The committee is considering a petition to seek stricter regulations on the operations of e-taxi businesses in the country.
KRA agreed that some regulation was necessary.
“A regulator framework for market players is critical. Licensing of sector players enables close monitoring and could help tax administration in the implementation of tax compliance programmes,” said the KRA official.