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Kenya VAT on electronic services

  • Jun 3, 2020 | Richard Asquith

Kenya is considering imposing Value Added Tax on foreign providers of digital or electronic services. This is in addition to a potential Digital Services Tax on gross revenues of providers of certain digital supplies to consumers.

VAT on digital services

It is proposing to levy 14% VAT on e-service provided via digital marketplaces. Services to be included are:

  • Downloads of movies, apps and electronic books
  • Subscription-based media, including streaming TV or music, gaming, news or magazines
  • Software downloads
  • Electronic data management
  • Supply of streaming films and games
  • Tickets bought online for live events
  • Online e-learning
  • Audio content bought online and payable on any device
  • Sharing economy website services, including ride-sharing
  • Any other digital marketplace supply as may be determined by the Kenyan Commissioner of Taxes. 

Simplified registration process

Any non-resident providing these services to Kenyan consumers would need to VAT register to the Commissioner.  This will be facilitated by a simplified VAT registration procedure, which will be available online. Note, there is no facility to recover Kenyan input VAT through this registration. Alternatively, providers may apply for a regular VAT registration although will require a local tax agent to represent the taxpayer. Also, there is no credit refund mechanism on the simplified registration

Returns are then due by the 20th of the month following the reporting period.

Determining the place of supply

Registered providers will need to determine if their customer is consuming the services in Kenya. They may rely on the following factors to determine this place of supply:

  • Postal ddress
  • Credit card or bank transfer details
  • IP address
  • Mobile SIM card country code

VP Global Indirect Tax
Richard Asquith
VP Global Indirect Tax Richard Asquith
Richard Asquith is VP Global Indirect Tax at Avalara, helping businesses understand their compliance obligations as they grow globally. He can be contacted at: richard.asquith@avalara.com. He is part of the European leadership team which won International Tax Review's 2019 Tax Technology Firm of the Year. Richard qualified as an accountant with KPMG in the UK, and went on to work in Hungary, Russia and France with EY.
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