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Kenya VAT on foreign digital services

Kenya obliges providers and marketplaces facilitating the sale of electronic or digital services to charge and collect Value Added Tax on their sales to local consumers. Sellers have faced this requirement since 2 September 2013. The (Digital Marketplace Supply) Regulations 2020 confirmed the liabilities on electronic platforms and marketplaces with effect from March 2021.

Note: Kenyan Digital Services Tax is also payable at 1.5% since the start of 2021.

Calculate or verify Kenyan calculations on individual or batch transactions with our Advisor and Auditor  services. These also cover any B2C or B2B transaction around the world.

What digital services are liable to Kenya VAT?

The VAT Act lists income the following e-services are being considered subject to VAT:

  • Software and the updating of software
  • Gaming including games of chance
  • Images, text and information
  • Access to databases
  • Self-education packages
  • Streaming or download music and films
  • Websites, web hosting or remote maintenance of programs and equipment
  • Political, cultural, artistic, sporting, scientific and other broadcasts and events, including broadcast television

Determining if Kenyan VAT is due

Under the destination principle, VAT is due if the customer is resident or consumes the service in Kenya. The providers or marketplaces may reply on the following examples of evidence to support this determination:

  • Address of the customer
  • IP address
  • Banking details or credit card issuer address
  • SIM card country code

VAT compliance

Kenya provides a simplified digital service registrations and filings process. There is no VAT registration threshold for non-residents. There is no requirement to appoint a Fiscal Representative as there is for the regular VAT registration. However, this includes no right to deduct any Kenyan VAT incurred. For B2C transactions, the Regulations require the supplier to issue an invoice or receipt showing the value of the supply and tax deducted.

VAT returns should be filed monthly, and any taxes due should be submitted by the 20th of the month following the reporting period.

B2B digital services

Where a non-resident is providing electronic or digital services supplies to Kenyan VAT-registered businesses, they do not need to charge VAT. Instead, they can reply on the reverse charge and the customer should report the VAT. If a foreign provider or marketplace only has business customers in Kenya, there is no need to VAT register.

You can follow VAT Calc’s global VAT and GST on digital services tracker to see which other countries have introduced indirect taxes on electronic services to consumers.

Africa & Middle East VAT on digital services

Comments (click for details) Rate Date Threshold Comments
Algeria 9% Jan 2020 Nil
Angola 14% Oct 2019
Bahrain 10% Jan 2019 Nil
Cameroon 19.5% Jan 2020 XAF 50 million
Egypt 14% Sep 2016 EGP 500,000
Ghana 12.5% Apr 2022 GHS 200,000
Israel 17% 2022 Proposal in 2021/22 budget
Ivory Coast 18% 2022 -
Kenya 16% Sep 2013 -
Kuwait 5% Jan 2023? - TBC
Mauritius 15% 2020
Nigeria 7.5% Jan 2020 $25,000
Oman 5% Apr 2021 OMR 35,000
Rwanda 18% TBC
Saudi Arabia 15% Jan 2018 Nil
South Africa 15% Jun 2014 ZAR 1 million
Tanzania 18% Jul 2015 TZS 40 million Only resident
Tunisia 19% Jan 2020 Nil Withholding VAT; 3% Royalty Tax
Uganda 18% Jan 2020 Nil
United Arab Emirates 5% Jan 2018 AED 375,000
Zimbabwe 14.5% Jan 2020 Nil

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