Govt Renews War With Betting Companies

  • The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has renewed the row with betting companies in the countries with its latest move.

    Reports from Business Daily on Wednesday, January 15, indicated that KRA threatened to deactivate the companies' pay bill numbers over their failure to deduct and submit the 20 per cent excise tax on amounts staked.

    The state agency is also reported to have threatened to suspend the online operations of betting firms in the face of non-compliance with the directive.

    KRA Commissioner-General James Mburu. The KRA on Tuesday, January 14, threatened to deactivate betting companies' paybill numbers if they failed to remit the 20 percent excise duty expected of them.

    "We will suspend the pay bill numbers and online operations of non-compliant bookmakers," the taxman was quoted.

    The new demands by KRA are in line with the Finance Act 2019, which was signed into law by President Uhuru Kenyatta on November 7, 2019.

    The law called for the introduction of excise tax on betting stakes and required the firms to display the 20 per cent deductions on betting slips.

    This levy is reported to be in addition to a 15 per cent betting tax and a 30 per cent corporate tax that the betting companies are supposed to part with as required by law.

    The requirements being enforced by KRA caused a stir in December 2019, forcing four Kenyans to take a case to court to challenge the increase.

    The four petitioners, Eugene Mwanje, Robert Opana, Dennis Kimari and Martin Muiruri accused the National Assembly of increasing the excise duty on stakes without public participation.

    Justice Weldon Korir, however, declined to suspend the law and directed the attorney general, Treasury CS and KRA to file their responses ahead of the hearing on March 20, 2020.

    President Uhuru Kenyatta signs the Finance Act of 2019 into law on November 7, 2019.