KRA Clarifies Taxation for Travelers Carrying Goods Exceeding USD 500

November 2, 2023

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has provided clarity regarding the taxation of travelers and tourists bringing goods into the country that surpass the duty-free limit.

Addressing the matter on Wednesday, David Ontweka, the Acting Deputy Commissioner for Policy and international Affairs at KRA, stated that the tax authority would impose taxes on goods acquired by travelers valued at more than USD 500.

“KRA will not tax everything you are coming with, we only tax goods you purchase which are valued at USD500 and are more than one,” Ontweka said.

The taxman aims to increase tax collection from travelers transporting goods valued at over USD 500. Travelers who neglect to declare their items or pay the applicable duty risk facing arrest, prosecution, fines, or forfeiture of the goods to the state.

The initiative, directed at both Kenyan citizens and visitors, is presently being intensified at all entry points, including airports.

“We have conducted numerous capacity-building programs and also engaged our Customs Officers at the airport by organizing them into various shifts with a clear process for carrying out their duties,” Sally Serem, KRA’s Chief Manager of Passengers Clearance at JKIA said.

KRA cautioned that individuals entering the country and attempting to evade taxes on the goods they bring will be subject to stringent penalties.

“Any passenger found walking through the Green Channel with dutiable or prohibited goods, or found mis-declaring the quantity, description or value of dutiable goods at the Red Channel (the baggage is examined where misdeclaration is suspected), is liable to strict penal action including arrest and prosecution – apart from seizure of the offending goods depending upon the gravity of violation detected,” KRA said.

At the moment, travelers are permitted to bring a limited quantity of goods into the country without incurring taxes. These include spirits not exceeding one litre, wine not exceeding two litres, perfume not exceeding half a litre, and cigarettes, cigars, tobacco, and snuff not exceeding 250 grams in weight.

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