VAT return is charged on supply of taxable goods or services made or provided in Kenya and on importation of taxable goods or services into Kenya.
Who should register for VAT?
Any person, individual, company or partnership that has supplied or expect to supply taxable goods worth Kshs. 5,000,000 and above within 12 months; you MUST register for VAT.
Registration is done online via iTax.
Once registered, you will be required to account for VAT charged on your taxable supplies through online monthly returns and pay any VAT due.
There are 3 typres of tax rates;
- 0% – for Zero rated supplies. Goods listed in the 2nd Schedule to the VAT Act e.g. Exportation of goods/services, goods supplied to EPZ, Priviledged persons and Public bodies etc.
- 8% – Petroleum oils obtained from bituminous, Motor Spirits (Diesel Supero, AViation spirit etc.)
- 16% – General rate for other Goods and Services
VAT operates on an INPUT – OUTPUT Principle.
A registered person should maintain a record of his sales and purchases for a tax period.
VAT on Purchases/Costs – Input Tax
VAT on Sales/Revenues – Output Tax
VAT Payable = Output Tax- Input Tax
If positive, tax due is payable on or before the 20th of the next month
- If positive-Input VAT – Input VAT = VAT Payable
This may also be a CREDIT, which is carried forward to the next month
Let us understand the step-by-step process to file VAT returns in iTAX Portal.
- Downloading VAT return excel format
The first step in the process of filing VAT return is to download the VAT return excel template. To download the VAT return excel format, follow the steps given below:
- Visit iTax Portal by clicking https://itax.kra.go.ke/KRA-Portal/
- Click ‘Forms’ option available on the top left of the screen as shown below.
In the next screen, select the department as ‘Domestic Taxes’ and Category as ‘VAT’. Then proceed to download the VAT return Excel format by clicking ‘Save button’ as shown in the below image.
Occasionally, the VAT return excel format will undergo changes and the updated file will be available for download along with the date. Therefore, the taxpayer should always look for the last updated date and download the latest file.
Alternatively, you can also download the VAT return Excel format by login to iTax portal-> Returns ->File returns -> VAT ->
Furnishing details in VAT return excel Format
The downloaded VAT return excel format consists of 14 Sheets in which the details need to be mentioned by the taxpayers. The details of your Sales and purchases need to be mentioned in the prescribed format. An important point to be noted here is that the VAT return excel format does not allow you to copy and paste details. You need to manually enter.
Return filing process will be easier for businesses using accounting software with the capabilities to auto-capture the details into the VAT return excel format. Else, it takes a lot of efforts and time to complete the VAT return format.
To know more about the details to be mentioned in the VAT return excel format, please read our article ‘KRA VAT returns’
Validate and generate zip file
Once the required details are captured in the VAT return excel format, Click ‘Validate’ option available in the last sheet ‘O_VAT’ of excel template.
If there are any errors, it will display the error message and take you to the sheet in which all the error messages are captured. You need to rectify the errors and again validate the details. If there are no errors, it will generate the zip file which needs to be uploaded.
Upload VAT returns in the iTax portal.
The final step in filing VAT return in the iTax portal is to upload the zip file. To upload the zip file into the iTax portal, follow the steps given below:
- Visit the iTax online portal using https://itax.kra.go.ke/KRA-Portal/
- Login to iTax portal with PIN and password
- Click on ‘e-Returns’ or select ‘Returns’ from the navigation menu and click on ‘File Returns’
- Select the Type, enter your taxpayer’s PIN and selects the Tax obligation as ‘VAT’ and Click ‘Next’
- Fill all the details such as Type of return, Entity type, branch name and return period available in return filing page
- Click ‘Upload’ and select the zip file generated by following the step-3 discussed earlier
- Agree to the terms and conditions by the ticking the checkbox.
- Finally, click ‘Submit’ button to upload the VAT returns and click ‘OK’ for the pop-up message ‘Do you want to upload the form’
On submitting the VAT returns, an e-return receipt will be generated with message ‘Return Submitted Successfully’ along with acknowledgement number as shown in the below image.