Kenyan VAT rates and VAT compliance

Kenya VAT rates

Rate Type Which goods or services
16% Standard All other supplies of goods, services and imports
0% Zero Exports of goods and services; international passenger transport; certain petroleum supplies
0% Exempt Certain agricultural supplies; financial services; medical supplies; tour operator services; entrance to national parks; domestic passenger transport; medical; education and training; residential property; betting and gaming; domestic water
3% Turnover Tax  Turnover Tax on any business below the VAT registration threshold

Kenyan VAT compliance

Tax Point

The date on which VAT is due is known as the tax point or time of supply. In Kenya, this is the earliest of the following:

  • When the goods or services are supplied
  • Invoice issuance date
  • Cash payments
  • Customs clearance for imports

Split VAT payments

For business-to-government (B2G) transactions, the government body must withhold 6% of the VAT due to the commercial vendor. A number of larger financial institutions are also required to withhold VAT settlements. This is paid directly to the tax office

VAT Invoices

VAT registered businesses must issue VAT invoices with the following details:

  • Name and address of suppliers
  • Customer details
  • Date
  • Unique VAT number
  • Description of goods or services provided
  • Net, VAT and Gross price

Foreign currency VAT invoices are permitted. The exchange rate used may be from any major publicly quoted exchange rate. Simplified invoices may also be issued for small value transactions for B2B and B2C transactions.

VAT returns

VAT returns are due on a monthly basis. The return and related VAT due must be filed by the 20th of the following month. Returns are filed electronically. Where the VAT suffered exceeds the sales VAT, then the credit may be rolled over or a reclaim made.

VAT Recovery by non-residents

Foreign companies may not reclaim Kenyan VAT incurred unless they are VAT registered.

Latest Kenyan news

Kenya VAT update

November 9, 2019

The Kenyan Finance Bill was progressed to the next stage of its parliamentary review. This includes the following measures, which come into effect at the start of 2020

Kenya withholding VAT

October 10, 2016

Kenya has reintroduced its withholding VAT, backdated it to 19 January 2016. The measure, designed to prevent VAT evasion...

Kenya VAT changes

June 12, 2015

The new 2015/16 budget for Kenya includes a number of VAT changes, including: Good in transit will be nil rated instead of exempt from VAT,...