Kenyans flying home to be affected by new tax rules on personal effects at airports

Passengers arrive at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. PHOTO | FILE

Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has set maximum duty collected on personal effects at Sh50,000 ($500) in its latest bid to speed up clearance of passengers at the international airports.
The guidelines published last week also details a list of items to be subjected to customs taxes at the arrival and departure terminals.

Basically, all the taxable items attract levies at rates determined by the value of money paid at a foreign country rather than factors such as quality, size, or weight, the guidelines state.
“The Harmonised Tariff System provides duty rates for virtually every existing item,” KRA said.

The guidelines come in the wake of complaints lodged by passengers arriving from Dubai and China, saying they are always subjected to extortionist rates unlike their counterpart from America and Europe.

The KRA says that passengers departing from Kenya are required to fill in a Temporary Importation Form-P45- to declare items being shipped overseas for repair and the accompanying tools and show the receipt during return as declaration.

Also items bought and carried for business promotional and commercial purposes need to be declared during departure for purposes of taxes on return. Electronics like phones, video recorders and projectors bought while on a trip to Kenya and currency exceeding Sh1 million ($10,000) must also be declared at the customs before departure.

Passengers arriving in Kenya are also required to fill passenger declaration form stating the amount paid for each item including the taxes. Items intended for sale or for use in a business including those coming back to Kenya after they are used commercially, taken abroad for repair and currency above Sh1 million must be declared too.

At the arrival desk a traveller is expected to declare newly acquired items whether they were bought, inherited or gifted and any other items bought exceeding the limits of duty-free shops.

“Duty-free shop articles sold in a customs duty-free shop are free only for the countries in which that shop is located. Therefore, if your acquired articles exceed your personal exemption and allowance, the articles you purchased in customs duty-free shop, whether in the Kenya or abroad, will be subject to customs duty upon entering your destination country,” said KRA.

Household goods such as carpets, paintings, tableware and tools of the trade, professional books and instruments are cushioned from taxes “where minimum conditions are met”.

Donations are also not exempt from taxes unless in situations where a Pro 1B document (mostly accompanying diplomatic goods) and a special letter from the Treasury is produced.

UPDATE – Access KRA’s customs handbook here

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  1. Michael R Kagiri says

    This is another way of failed government policies that do not generate much but have greater impact on the economy.
    If the government collected taxes on senators and those in government position s.Law makers should be taxed just like any other Kenyan who wants to enjoy safety and basic amenities.We invest on senator security instead of improving jobs and overall country to reduce crime rate. Policy makers should be looking for attractive policy for visitors and investors. So now paying thus wouldn’t be an issue but this money generated only goes to those pigs who are in charge.There is no electronic way of tracking this money. It’s embezzlement scheme in a corrupted system.
    Air ticket $2000
    Visa $50
    New tax $500
    Bribe for lost bag $50
    The extra money we would reinvest it in our people instead of wasting it on another pointless tax. Other countries have free visa programs to attract visitors and investors. THIS IS 3RD WORLD MENTALITY.

  2. John Githiga says

    This type of exploitation of travelers is tying the hands of the diaspora who take mission team to Kenya. This will result to decreased tourists and will have negative effect on Kenya economy.

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