Guest Post – Vehicle Import Duty

CRSP Link Updated 15th April 2013 – Many thanks to Evans Kamau for the heads up

One of the most common questions that potential customers ask me is how the duty and related taxes of an imported car is arrived at.

First, the year of manufacture of the vehicle you intend to import plays a major part in determining the duty. Another major influence is “The first date of registration” We will however get to that a little bit later.

The duty payable on the importation of a motor vehicle is arrived at as follows according to FAQ Q3
  • Import Duty: 25% of the CIF value of the vehicle
  • Excise Duty: 20% of the (CIF value + Import Duty)
  • VAT: 16% of the (CIF value + Import Duty + Excise Duty)
  • IDF: 2.25% of the CIF value or Ksh. 5,000, whichever is higher, is payable.

CIF – This is the customs value of the vehicle i.e. the Cost, Insurance & Freight paid for the vehicle. The CIF value of the vehicle is also deduced from the Current Retail Selling Price (CRSP) of the vehicle

However, the KRA uses the CRSP rather than the CIF of a vehicle. For example if two of us import year 2008 BMW 318i with similar dates of first registration but different CIF, we pay the same duty.

This link leads you to an MS Excel sheet with the current CRSP list as given by the KRA (as at January 2011). It has most common vehicle models imported into Kenya

This link gives you a duty calculator that does the donkey work for you. All you do is insert figures where appropriate. On Cell C15 of this calculator, labelled “depreciation” you insert the cost depreciation rate. For example, if the car is brand new, it has nil depreciation. A one year old car has a depreciation rate of 10%, 2 years old 20%, 3 has 30%, 4 has 40%, 5 has 50%, 6 has 60% while a 7 year old car has rate of 70%.

This is where the first date of registration plays part. For example, if one import’s a car manufactured in year 2003 first registered in the month of February, which make it 7 years old as at the date of this post and therefore 70% rate applies. If another person imports a similar unit, manufactured in 2003, first registered in December and it lands in Mombasa before December 2010, it’s considered as a 6 year old car and therefore 60% rate applies which in turn increases the duty considerably.

You will also notice cell D11 and D12 labelled CC. You insert the engine capacities are guided. The CC plays a part too. For example, Toyota Corolla NZE model, 1300cc, 1500cc, 1600cc, 1800cc and 2200cc diesel.  However, the cost of the each of these models varies in the CRSP and therefore the engine capacity plays a small part.


Case Study - Nissan X-trail

A Nissan X-Trail

Case study

Whenever I come across customers, I put all these considerations in place when identifying and giving quotations on any unit. For instance, early this month, a lady called Joan, called me and explained she had a budget of KES 900k and wanted to bring in a  2000cc Nissan Xtrail. I gave her my estimates for a 2003 unit registered between January and July of the same year. My quotation hit KES 1.2M with a CIF of US$9500 and she asked me how I had arrived at that figures while she had identified a number of units with CIF of US$8500 and US$7000 in one of the Japanese companies websites advertised in the Kenyan dailies. I asked for the web address and to her word, there were units going at that much. However, one unit, lets call it unit A US$8500 was a December (date of first registration) 2004. The second one (unit B) US$7000 was a September 2006 which makes it 5 years old. Using our calculator and KRA’s CRSP figure of KES 3,650,000 for a 2000cc Nissan Xtrail,

Unit A (US$8800): Yr 2004 Dec (5 years old) duty payable = KES 669,856

Unit B (US$7300): Yr 2006 July (4 years old) Duty payable = KES 804,827

My quote: 2003 July (7 years old) duty payable = KES 399,913

Had she not consulted, she would have imported unit B which appeared cheaper not knowing how much it would cost to clear. Such are the mistakes that people make and their units end up accumulating demurrage before they can raise the duty. At times people are unable to raise the duties or by the time they are able to, the demurrage is too much. Your vehicles could end up auctioned to pay off storage fees and to decongest the port.

Another important fact to note is that registration fee and the import duty are usually paid together in one cheque.

The vehicle registration depends on  the engine capacity(CC) of the vehicle.

The rates are shown below:

Less than 1000cc – Kshs 7,360
1001 – 1250 – Kshs 8,490
1251 – 1500 – Kshs 9,365
1501 – 1760 – Kshs 10,710
1761 – 2000 – Kshs 11,995
2001 – 2500 – Kshs 15,445
2501 – 3000 – Kshs 18,755
3001 – Above – Kshs 21,215

The Author, Anthony Mwaura, Former head of the Imports Desk at Hilltop Junction Motors, Currently in sales at Toyotsu Auto Mart Kenya (A subsidiary of  Toyota Tsusho Co., Ltd in Japan which also owns Toyota Kenya Ltd.)


  • CNA Training

    Great information! I’ve been looking for something like this for a while now. Thanks!

  • Richard

    Good stuff. I’d always suspected KRA using there moods to calculate the duties. They should use you in there P.R. departments.

  • Paulo

    what is the difference between direct imports and previously registered MVs as in the calculation sheet.

  • Simon

    Great stuff. Its quite unusual to find this openness in dealers. They want to show you its too complex and “expensive”. Thank you for making it plain.

    • Bobby

      Your welcome

  • Richard

    This information is what Kenyans are missing. We end up blaming KRA for our duty wooes!

    • Bobby

      Thank you!! Information is power

      • Silvester Maithya

        Hi Mwaura,

        I want to buy a Toyata fielder with a budget of KES 600,000. Can I get one?


    Thanks alot for such useful information as regards this industry. Please couid you assist with the following crsp
    1. Mercdes c180 komp classic se a, petrol, chss WDC, year first reg 31/01/2006, cc 1796.

    2.Nissan Narava DCI SE, heavy oil, chss VSKCVND, year first reg 01/03/2006,cc 2500.

    3.BMW X5 SE 3.0D AUTO, diesel chssWBAFF,year first reg 16/08/2007,cc 2993.

    Thanks in advance

  • John

    Thanks for the information.You must be a very honest kenyan.

    Thanks again and be blessed




  • John Njoge

    Thank you so much for the information Mr Mwaura. I also came across an online tool that is even much easier to use than the KRA VALUATION SHEET. It’s absolutely FREE!!. CHECK IT OUT. http://WWW.DUTYCALC.CO.KE

    • Mwaura Anthony

       Hello John, I have tested the calc on your link and am impressed by the work put to it. However, it still lacks alot of cars eg Noah/Voxy, Mercedes C, E, S, CLS to mention a few. Great work. 

      • Arahul

        Hi, Mwaura
        Have tried out the dutycalc system and I must say that I am impressed. All the vehicle that are in the KRA list and many more are available there. The only challenging bit is that the user must know the BODYTYPE of the motor vehicle he/she anticipate to calculate duty for. For instance Noah/Voxy fall under VANs bodytype category.Mercedes C,E,S,CLS will mostly be found under the saloon bodytype category.


  • nate


  • Anonymous


  • Edwardkuria

    Thanks. How can we repay you?

    • Anonymous

      Spread the word! That is all

  • Kariuki

    Very informative.Thanks Mwaura

  • Mykee

    thanks Mwaura.but i was wondering, is true that KRA have re-adjusted either the import duty or excise duty upwards for some vehicles such as rav4s, x-trails and subarus??

  • Regex83

    Thanks Mwaura and all the other contributors. I have a small question to ask, Can i import a car which had an accident category D?

  • Johnndungi2000

    Hi everyone, i intend to import to Kenya a Suzuki aerio,1800cc manufucture date 2005 and registered on january,what and how will i be able to calculate or know the import duties

  • Martotuch

    thx Mwaura you are doing a great job  

  • Shabbirvirjee

    i alrady have a toyota l/cruiser 2002 model. i would like to register it pls help me how shud i do it

    • John Ndungi

      Hi Shabbirjee,
      Google ” KRA road transport department’  and go to motor vehicle registration.

      You will get all info you require.

  • Mottiz Company Ltd

    Another easy app to calculate duty at, its all FREE

  • H Hussein888

    i have nissan navara long way down ” 2008 ” i would like to know exact how much it will cost me in $ dollars please reply back . i want to know how much tax duty i have to pay “”"” complete clearance 

  • Mwaura Anthony

    Hello everyone, thank you for your positive comments. Kindly email any questions you might have makes it easy for me to answer you on a personal level.

  • Araikaamwathani

    Hello, Mr.Mwaura, this is really great of you to post much needed information for those of us wishing to import our own cars.
    All the best with your business.
    God Bless

  • Iscmwangi

    Thanx man,was asking just like the other guy whether its possible to import a fielder with 600k with all inclusive

    • Mwaura Anthony

      Hello Mwangi. I am afraid it is not possible to get a Toyota Fielder of 2005 and above at that budget.

  • Maria

    Hi Mwaura, I intend to import a Nissan pickup 4×2 single cab from the UK registered in 11/2005.  Please advise how much duty I should expect to pay.  If I import a 2 axle box trailer with it, will the duty be higher?  The trailer usually has no log book in the UK.  Total vehicle CIFSHS.600, 000, INCLUDING trailer shs.850000.

  • Beenyikuli

    hi, can i get a subaru B4 for 600k all inclusive?

  • Erick Gicheru

    I saw a small Hatchback – suzuki for taking my kid to school. CIF 2000USD..Engine capacity 1300cc , Year of Manufacture 2005 Nov… How much duty will I pay for this unit?

  • milky1018

    Got a lot of options to have in here. Thanks for the info.

    Aztec Storage Containers

  • Kimamira

    Thanks Mr. Mwaura for that education. I wish to import Toyota premio

  • sylvia raywe

    hi, i wanted to ask- in the calculation- what is crsp cc just under actual cc?