The ABCS of Kenya Electronic Tax Invoice Management System (ETIMS)

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By CPA Meshack Mutinda Mulei

Unraveling the Dynamics of ETIMS

The intricate dance of governance, compliance, and efficiency takes center stage as Kenya ushers in a new era of tax management with the Electronic Tax Invoice Management System (eTIMS). This transformative digital platform, spearheaded by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), seeks to redefine the landscape of Value Added Tax (VAT) administration. In this comprehensive exploration, we dissect the nuances of eTIMS, from its mandate and registration process to the potential repercussions of non-compliance, benefits for both the KRA and traders, and potential challenges in implementation.


The eTIMS mandate, effective from January 1, 2024, is a paradigm shift for VAT registered taxpayers. It decrees the exclusive acceptance of electronic tax invoices, a move designed to bolster tax compliance, accountability, and expedite VAT refund processing. The accompanying VAT (Electronic Tax Invoice) Regulations, 2020, underscore the gravity of this transition.

Who It’s Targeting

The bull’s eye of eTIMS is firmly set on all VAT registered taxpayers in Kenya. This encompasses a diverse spectrum of businesses, from large corporations to small enterprises, each obligated to align their invoicing practices with the digital prowess of eTIMS.

Unveiling eTIMS: A Technological Marvel

  1. Features of eTIMS: A Digital Symphony The eTIMS software, provided by KRA at no additional cost, redefines the landscape of tax administration. Key features include:
  2. Online Portal: Businesses can issue and transmit tax invoices in real-time through an intuitive online portal.
  3. Mobile Application: eTIMS extends its reach to smartphones, offering a mobile application for on-the-go convenience.
  4. Integration Capabilities: Seamless integration with existing billing systems for tailored solutions.

ii. Navigating the Transition: For TIMS Device Owners and New Adopters

  • TIMS Device Owners: Businesses with existing TIMS hardware devices will experience a concurrent operation with the new eTIMS software, promising enhanced operational efficiency.
  • New Adopters: Businesses without TIMS devices can install the eTIMS software at no additional cost, providing a golden opportunity to streamline tax compliance.

How to Register

Navigating the eTIMS realm necessitates a meticulous registration process. VAT registered taxpayers are directed to the KRA website, where a detailed registration process awaits. Furnishing business details and the Tax Registration Number (TRN) completes this initiation into the digital tax frontier.

The Promise of eTIMS: Revolutionizing Tax Compliance

  1. Real-Time Efficiency: A Game-Changer in Tax Invoicing The real-time nature of eTIMS heralds a new era of efficiency. Businesses can transmit electronic invoices directly to KRA, eliminating delays and inaccuracies associated with traditional methods. This streamlined process enhances accuracy in tax invoice declarations and facilitates seamless reconciliation between filed returns and payments.

Repercussions of Non-Compliance

The clock is ticking for VAT-registered businesses. The KRA directive mandates that starting January 1, 2024, only electronic tax invoices will be accepted from taxpayers in compliance with the VAT (Electronic Tax Invoice) Regulations, 2020. Non-compliance comes with consequences, including the withholding of tax compliance certificates and penalties.

Non-compliance with eTIMS unfurls a cascade of repercussions. VAT registered taxpayers failing to adhere to the electronic tax invoice mandate face the denial of tax compliance certificates, a freeze on VAT refunds, and the inability to claim input tax. The Finance Act, 2023, escalates the stakes with substantial fines, potentially reaching KES 1 million or ten times the amount of tax due.

Fines and Penalties

Urgency for Businesses The Finance Bill, 2023 proposes stringent penalties for non-compliance. Traders failing to issue electronic tax invoices to customers could face fines of either KES 1 million or 10 times the amount of tax due, whichever is higher. The stakes are high, underlining the urgency for businesses to align with the eTIMS directive.

Benefits to KRA/Government and Traders: eTIMS unfolds a dual benefit paradigm:


  • The implementation of eTIMS is not merely a technological upgrade; it is a strategic move to boost revenue collection. KRA envisions collecting an additional Sh400 billion in VAT through this platform. The financial impact could redefine Kenya’s fiscal landscape, empowering the government to meet its developmental goals.
  • Increasing the Tax base by targeting the small scale traders
  • Addressing the Challenge of Missing Invoices KRA aims to address the longstanding challenge of missing trader invoices through eTIMS. With all transactions visible to the taxman, the platform becomes a robust tool in curbing fictitious claims and ensuring a transparent fiscal environment.
  • Enhanced tax compliance and accuracy through real-time or near real-time submission of electronic tax invoices.
  • Streamlined VAT return filing, reducing the burden of invoice discrepancies.


  • Expedited VAT refund processing through real-time invoice transmission.
  • Reduced cost of compliance, eliminating the need for extensive hardware.
  • Creation of a fair business environment, fostering efficiency and transparency.

Possible Cons to KRA/Government and Traders: eTIMS, while transformative, introduces potential challenges:


  • The need for substantial investment in technology and infrastructure.
  • Balancing stringent penalties with the realities faced by small businesses.


  • Initial challenges in adapting to digital invoicing practices.
  • Potential disparities in compliance capabilities between large and small businesses.

Similar Systems Internationally, Regionally (Africa): Globally, countries have embraced electronic tax invoicing. Estonia’s digital governance and Rwanda’s use of blockchain for conflict minerals offer insights. Regionally, Kenya sets a precedent, with potential collaboration opportunities for harmonizing systems across African countries.

Possible Challenges in Implementation (Lessons from Elsewhere): International experiences underscore potential pitfalls in implementation, such as technology gaps and resistance to change. Researching and adapting lessons from successful transitions in other countries is paramount.

How to Avoid the Loopholes: Navigating eTIMS implementation requires foresight. Addressing challenges proactively through continuous capacity building, targeted infrastructure investments, and tailored support for small businesses can mitigate potential loopholes.


As Kenya advances into the digital realm of tax management with eTIMS, the symbiotic dance between compliance, efficiency, and growth unfolds. Challenges are omnipresent, but so are opportunities. The success of eTIMS hinges on collaborative efforts, technological investments, and a commitment to fostering a tax environment that aligns with the demands of the future. In this symphony of change, Kenya charts a course that promises not only enhanced revenue collection but a paradigm shift in the way businesses perceive and engage with tax 

Mutinda Mulei, MBA, Bcom, CISA


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