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October 14, 2021

Kenya Revenue Authority issues guidelines on implementation of Value Added Tax (Electronic Tax Invoice) Regulations, 2020

Executive summary

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has rolled out the Electronic Tax Invoice requirements effective 1 August 2021. All Value Added Tax (VAT)-registered persons were required to comply with the requirements of the Value Added Tax (Electronic Tax Invoice) Regulations, 2020 regarding implementation of the electronic tax invoice within a period of 12 months from 1 August 2021.

To facilitate compliance, KRA has issued guidelines and published a list of approved Electronic Tax Register (ETR) suppliers and their manufacturers.

Detailed discussion

Key aspects of the guidelines

The issued guidelines provide for a compliance mechanism for the electronic tax invoice requirements. A compliant ETR should have the following capabilities:

  • To check the invoice details (tax rate, taxable value, total tax and total gross amount) before issuance of the tax invoice to the customer
  • To transmit validated tax invoices to KRA over the internet on a real time or near real time basis
  • To generate credit and debit notes referencing the original tax invoice
  • To produce key features of a valid Electronic Tax Invoice including:
    • Buyer PIN (PIN of the purchaser): the capture of the buyer’s PIN is optional when generating an invoice and is only applicable where the purchaser intends to claim input tax for the VAT paid
    • Control Unit serial number: a unique number issued by KRA to identify each tax register
    • Control Unit invoice number: a unique number generated by the tax register upon issuance of each tax invoice
    • Quick Response (QR) Code: to confirm the validity of the tax invoice

Options Available to Taxpayers

The regulations provide for the following ETR options that can be adopted by the VAT-registered taxpayers (at their discretion):

  • An integrated tax register: this is an ETR with inbuilt functionality to validate, generate and transmit tax invoices to KRA.
  • An independent tax register: this is connected to the invoicing system to validate and transmit tax invoices to KRA. This includes the upgraded Electronic Signature Device (ESD).
  • A centralized tax register: this is connected to more than one cashier till (one to many).

Implementation and Penalties

Where a person is unable to comply within the timelines, they shall apply to the Commissioner for extension of time to comply, which shall not exceed six months, as provided in the Regulations. The application for extension shall be made on or before 1 July 2022.

A trader will be required to report the malfunction of the register to a service person (approved Tax Register suppliers and their manufacturers), and report to the Commissioner in writing within 24 hours. In the period that the ETR is not working the trader will record sales using any other means as specified by the Commissioner.

Where a taxpayer replaces the existing tax register, they are required to safeguard the previously used tax register in line with requirement to keep records for five years as stipulated in Section 23 of the Tax Procedures Act, 2015 (TPA).


Failure to comply with the Regulations is an offense which will attract penalties as specified in Section 63 of the VAT Act, 2013, that is, a fine not exceeding Ksh1 million, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or to both.

Next steps

Implementation of the ETR is a requirement prior to onboarding of all VAT-registered taxpayers to the Tax Invoice Management System (TIMS) currently under pilot. TIMS will facilitate electronic tax invoice management through standardization, validation, and transmission of invoices to KRA on a real time or near real time basis.

Where a taxpayer replaces the existing tax register, they are required to safeguard the previously used tax register in line with requirement to keep records for five years in accordance with the TPA 2015.

Irrespective of the implementation of the above guidelines by VAT-registered taxpayers, the requirement to file monthly VAT returns by the 20th of the following month still remains.

VAT-registered taxpayers who wish to be onboarded as early adopters should contact the KRA via email at


For additional information with respect to this Alert, please contact the following:

Ernst & Young (Kenya), Nairobi

Ernst & Young Société d’Avocats, Pan African Tax – Transfer Pricing Desk, Paris

Ernst & Young LLP (United Kingdom), Pan African Tax Desk, London

Ernst & Young LLP (United States), Pan African Tax Desk, New York


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