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New tax laws in Kenya threaten missions work

By January 31, 2005

Kenya (MNN) — The one thing everyone agrees with is the situation isn’t really clear. But, everyone is concerned about it. What we’re talking about is the Kenya tax code, the tax code that’s threatening to cause incredible financial hardship for missionaries working there.

Kenya has restructured it’s tax code, with a result that may require missionaries to pay a lot more while they live and work there. Worse case scenario is all missionary support, benefits, school tuition, and personal property will be taxed.

EFCA International’s Africa Director Merle Wiens says he’s concerned. “There’s some efforts underway to clarify that issue, whether it would be all of those different things that you mentioned would be taxed, or if in fact it will just be the salary that comes into the country that missionaries live off of.”

Wiens wouldn’t speculate what the worse case scenario would mean for them, but he did say more financial burden would mean that, “In order to sustain themselves there in Kenya, if in fact our missionaries would stay if it was a worse case scenario, that would include the need to raise more support funds.”

Whatever the case, it will mean a strain on missionary finances, says SIM International’s Steve Strauss. Their worse case is that, “It would double their taxation bill and make it more difficult to live.”

SIM has between 40 and 50 missionaries working in Kenya, a key country in their efforts to reach the African continent with the Gospel. Strauss asks Christians to pray. “Let’s just pray that outreach in Kenya-which is not only still a country that has needs of its own, but is a hub for much other work in that part of the world-let’s just pray that those doors would stay open and that God would make a way.”

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