Kenya’s Tax on Interest: What You Need to Know

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Kenya’s Tax on Interest: What You Need to Know

Kenya recently passed a law imposing a tax on interest earned from investments. This new taxation policy has stirred debate among the nation’s citizens and economists, as it could have both positive and negative impacts on Kenya’s economy. In this article, we will examine the details of Kenya’s tax on interest, looking at who is affected by this regulation and how it may affect economic growth in the long run. We will explore possible implications for businesses operating in or investing in Kenya as well as individuals living there with an emphasis upon their personal finances. Finally, we will consider any potential solutions to mitigate any negative effects that might result from these changes to Kenya’s fiscal policies.
Kenya's Tax on Interest: What You Need to Know

I. Introduction to Kenya’s Tax on Interest

Kenya imposes withholding tax on interest (WTI) in order to raise additional revenue from non-residents of the country. Kenya’s WTI is imposed by the Income Tax Act, with rates varying depending upon whether or not a double taxation treaty applies.

Tax Rates

  • Interest earned by individuals who are Kenyan residents: 0%
  • Interest earned by companies and other entities that are Kenyan residents: 10%

kenya withholding tax on interest” under Double Taxation Treaties.: For countries which have concluded agreements for avoidance of double taxation with Kenya, different rates apply depending upon whether the recipient is an individual or a company/entity resident in one of those countries.
For example, according to Section 15(2)(a) as read with Article 11(1)(b) of India–Kenya DTAA [Double Tax Avoidance Agreement], “kenya withholding tax on interest” payable by persons who derive income from sources within Kenya shall be limited to 7.5 percent of such income. Further if such person is an Indian resident then it shall also be subject to domestic laws applicable in India.
Further according to section 9A(9), where “kenya withholding tax on interest” has been paid at any rate greater than 5 percent for payments made before 1 July 2019, then refund claims may be filed either directly with KRA or through filing returns seeking credit against final taxes due for the year concerned.
Additionally there exist certain exemptions available too; e.g., all dividends derived from investments into listed securities traded at recognized stock exchange approved pursuant NSE rules & regulations will receive exemption up 50 % reduction In “kenya withholding tax on interest”. .

II. Overview of the Interest Tax in Kenya

The Kenyan interest tax system is a source of revenue for the government, and it operates as a withholding-based taxation method. Under this system, individuals or companies paying interest to any other entity must withhold some amount from that payment in order to pay taxes on behalf of the recipient.

  • Kenyan law requires 10% kenya withholding tax on interest paid by banks and financial institutions


Interest income earned by both resident and nonresident taxpayers are subject to Kenya’s progressive tax rates ranging from 0% – 30%. Resident taxpayers must declare their worldwide interest earnings while nonresidents only need to report local interests received within the country. Any individual with taxable Kenyan sources of incomes may be required to file an annual return where all earning details are disclosed.

  • Nonresidents can apply for relief if they already have paid similar taxes in another jurisdiction upon presenting appropriate documents such as certificate of residence issued by foreign authorities


Finally, debt securities listed in Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) aren’t subjected to kenya withholding tax on interest. The principal gains derived from buying bonds/debts listed at NSE will also remain exempt from taxation provided that certain conditions are met including: no direct control between issuer & purchaser; transactions occur through recognized stockbrokers; payment made via authorized banking institution etc.


III. Assessing Who is Liable for this Tax in Kenya

The main form of tax applicable to individuals and companies in Kenya is the withholding tax on interest. This type of taxation affects both domestic and foreign investors, as well as debt issuers with regards to their obligations.

  • Taxpayers: Taxpayers are considered liable for this withholding tax. It applies when an individual or business entity earns interest from a resident taxpayer’s savings account, deposits, debentures, loans made by banks and other financial institutions located within Kenya.
  • Deductions: Under the current regulations set forth in Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Act 2013 Section 19A(3), deductions that are allowed for calculating the kenya withholding tax on interest include any expenses incurred directly related to generating such income.

In addition, according to Section 19A(5) of KRA Act 2013 businesses may be able to reduce their liabilities if they make payments towards approved retirement benefits schemes operated by Retirement Benefits Authorities registered under Kenyan laws.

The implementation of these regulations has caused considerable confusion among taxpayers who are unsure whether they should pay kenya withholding taxes on interests earned from investments outside country borders. As such it is important that taxpayers familiarize themselves with all relevant rules regarding liability for kenya withholding taxes on interests when conducting transactions abroad.

IV. Calculation of Taxes Levied on Interest Earnings in Kenya

In Kenya, withholding tax on interest payments is levied on most types of income earned from investments. The amount of the tax depends largely upon an individual’s or company’s status as a Kenyan resident and their applicable tax rate. As such, calculating taxes levied on interest earnings in Kenya requires an understanding of both the relevant taxation laws and regulations.

Taxation Rate

The calculation process begins with determining one’s applicable tax rate. This will typically depend upon if they are classified as either a non-resident or a resident taxpayer under Kenyan law:

  • Non-residents – those who have no permanent residence within Kenya – must pay 30% withholding kenya withholding tax on interest regardless of how much money they make through investments.
  • Residents – those whose permanent place of residence is in Kenya – may be subject to different rates depending upon their annual taxable income (ATI). Any ATI below Ksh 500,000 attracts 10%, while any above that figure pays 20%.

In addition to these percentages being applied to gross payment amounts made via interests accrued by individuals/companies based in foreign countries towards persons/organisations residing in Kenya, some additional considerations should also be taken into account prior to making calculations for kenya withholding tax on interest liabilities incurred by recipients.

Allowances & Benefits

For instance, certain allowances available through employee benefit schemes can lower one’s liability whilst other deductions specific to capital gains can reduce investment costs further. Similarly, there are several exemptions available which could exempt a person entirely from paying kenya withholding taxoninterest charges dependent upon qualifying criteria which involve length and type(s)of investment held etc.

Such conditions offer beneficial scenarios when it comes to reducing payable taxes owed but ultimately every investor needs ensure they familiarize themselves thoroughly with all legal aspects before attempting calculation processes associated with taxes levied relatedto interests earnedinKenya soas not incur any incorrect liabilities

V. Analysis of Impacts Created by the Kenyan Interest Tax

The Kenyan Interest Tax has had numerous impacts on the economy of Kenya, both positive and negative. There are five primary areas that have been impacted by this tax: taxation revenue, access to credit for Kenyans, economic growth, overall debt levels in the country and capital flight.

  • Taxation Revenue: The withholding tax on interest payments was introduced in 2013 as a source of additional government revenues from non-corporate entities. As such it has increased Kenya’s revenue stream significantly over the past few years. This is mainly due to higher yields being generated by kenya withholding tax on interest activities compared with other forms of taxation.
  • Access to Credit for Kenyans: Access to financing is critical for stimulating investment and growth within any economy, particularly developing ones like that of Kenya’s. However there have been reports suggesting that businesses are unable or unwilling to take loans at high rates because they face an additional burden due to kenya withholding taxes on interests paid off by them.
  • Economic Growth: While some studies show a slight increase in GDP growth after introduction of kenya withholding tax on interests payments most would agree there hasn’t been significant increases if any since then due largely because businesses find it difficult accessing needed funds either through banks or micro-finance institutions.

VI. Guidelines for Paying the Kenyan Interest Tax

Interest Income Tax: Interest payments to Kenyan residents are subject to withholding tax of 15%. Kenya Withholding Tax on interest (KWIT) must be deducted from the payment and remitted through the Electronic Filing System by use of approved KRA payment system. Payment should then be accompanied with a duly completed KRA W-5 Form.

Tax Identification Number: The payer is obligated to obtain an Individual’s or Corporate’s Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN), as provided in Section 105 A, upon making any deductions for Kenya Withholding Tax on interest. TIN helps ensure that records regarding taxes withheld are correctly maintained and filed before submission.

Failure To Comply: If the payer fails comply with the provisions outlined above, they will be held liable for both; 1) Paying their due amount plus interests and penalties accruing thereon; 2) Making payments on behalf of such persons who did not deduct or withhold taxes in accordance with prevailing regulations.

  • Any late payments may attract heavy fines prescribed by relevant laws.
  1. For nonresident individuals/corporations, all financial institutions will require them to fill out an application form known as ‘RAD 10’ in order for them to receive any funds due after deduction of Kenya withholding tax on interest at source.
VII. Conclusion: Summarizing Key Points about Kenya’s tax on interest

Kenya’s tax on interest is an important part of the country’s taxation system and is regulated by Kenya Revenue Authority. Interest income earned in Kenya by non-residents or foreign individuals must be declared as taxable income, with a rate of 30% imposed under Kenyan law for such payments. Non-residents can opt to pay the withholding tax at source, which will then act as final payment and no further taxes shall be due from them if they are not resident taxpayers in Kenya.

The kenya withholding tax on interest, although high compared to some other countries, has been structured with consideration to both individuals who receive certain types of payments (such as bank deposits) and those making these payments; it allows for easier administration when paying out interests while simultaneously ensuring that any applicable taxes are withheld up front before remittance. Furthermore, there exist various exemptions available such as where the recipient falls within specified categories like being government related entities or international organisations among others provided specifically under Sections 6A(4) & 8(3).

In conclusion, kenya’s taxing regime requires that all non-resident recipients declare their received interest income upon filing returns annually with KRA unless exempted according to existing laws; this includes deduction via kenya withholding tax on interest. Withholding agents should ensure they comply accordingly by deducting and remitting appropriate taxes for each type of transaction before disbursement whilst retaining relevant evidence regarding same action taken through use of TIN certificates/withholding statements given in respect thereof.

The introduction of a new tax on interest in Kenya is an important development for businesses and individuals alike. As demonstrated, the process can be complex and it will require adherence to various regulations both from those providing capital and those receiving funds through investments or loan arrangements. It is therefore essential that all parties involved are aware of their obligations under this legislation, as well as any opportunities they may have to reduce potential costs associated with these changes. In sum, Kenya’s taxation system remains largely untested when it comes to dealing with interests; however, understanding the details presented here should provide interested stakeholders with adequate preparation before undertaking transactions subject to the new rules.

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