How Do I Calculate Car Import Duty Correctly?

By MHH International-A prestige car importer

Calculating car import duty is a critical part of your total cost to import a car. The risk of getting it wrong can cost you millions of Kenyan shillings more than you expected. We understand how terrifying that prospect is and so this article will explain to you how to calculate your car import duty correctly and how to avoid getting it wrong!

Where Should You Begin?

To calculate your car import duty you can use an online duty calculator, talk to a clearing agent, talk to a car exporter or visit the KRA’s own website. Ironically, we have discovered all of these options can land you in very hot water! We have recently had two clients call us about expensive cars and in both cases the duties they had been quoted for similar cars were totally incorrect (undervalued by more than 1 Million Kes) due to the fact that the dealer quoting was using an old duty calculator. So we decided to run some tests to understand how such catastrophic mistakes can happen.

Using Online Duty Calculators.

We always use the latest published CRSP spreadsheets for our clients. But with information at our fingertips most people go to the online duty calculators so we checked them out for accuracy. We assumed that these would be perfectly up to date as that is what they are there for afterall. What we discovered was somewhat alarming which lead us to share our learnings to help you avoid a costly error.

What was surprising in this experiment was that half of the online duty calculators we tested were incorrect. In this example it is important to note that the KRA calculator is consistently incorrect and the DutyCalc numbers are consistently correct. Please note that we did find that at the time of writing was using the correct CRSP information for the cars we tested.

How to Calculate Car Import Duty Correctly

Whilst this was a shocking discovery it is understandable how websites can be out of date. The CRSP changes are made throughout the year at irregular intervals making it difficult to keep the online calculators updated. Each CRSP is made up of 3,200 data entries. Keeping these updated is a significant task for any team.  Unfortunately, some of the online duty calculators are still using CRSP data from before March 2019.

Talking to professional car importers and clearing agents should give you sound advice, but it’s true to say that most independent agents now also use the online calculators. So, whilst they believe they have made the correct calculations, they will not realise they are also working off old CRSP data. To add insult to injury, if your clearing agent submits the duty entry with the incorrect duty figures, KRA will increase it to the correct level and fine you for the error!  

To be completely sure you have been quoted the correct duty figures for your car, then you must either check with a number of different clearing agents and online calculators (we recommend always assuming the worst case scenario to be correct until proven otherwise). Or you can calculate it yourself using the CRSP and the valuation template from the KRA’s download section from their website. Alternatively, you can call us at MHH International and we will be happy to calculate your car import duty for you.

We sincerely hope that this research is helpful to you and gives you the confidence to import the car you have been hoping to drive


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