July 20, 2017: The Adventist Church in Kenya is one of three religious denominations listed among high-turnover tax payer organizations in the country.
The list, created by the Kenya Revenue Authority, was for organizations with annual turnovers of between Sh 350 million and Sh 1 billion (USD 3,313,400 – USD 9,466,858.)
The Adventist Church joined the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Nairobi Pentecostal Church on the list. Despite owning one of the largest real estate portfolios in the country, the Catholic Church was not listed.
Organizations in this bracket of high-revenue tax payers include Google Kenya, Kenya Union of National Teachers and Kirinyaga Construction.
The three denominations made the list due to increasing investments in taxable commercial activities to grow their incomes.
Kenya’s The Daily Nation newspaper states that the churches have increased investments in education, healthcare, financial services, hospitality and real estate.
This was explained as a strategy to reduce reliance on giving from parishioners in the form of tithes and offerings.
Despite the high earnings of these three denominations, the Kenyan Non-Governmental Organisations and Co-ordination Act allows them to avoid most taxes even if they are required to file annual tax returns.
The Adventist Church in Kenya runs two universities in addition to a number of schools and hospitals. It also owns dozens of medical clinics.