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How to Create an eTIMS Account – Quick & Easy Steps

In 2023, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) introduced the Electronic Tax Invoice Management System (eTims), revolutionizing how businesses handle deductions, payments, assessments, and VAT declarations.

Since its launch, it has become mandatory for all businesses, including those not registered for VAT, to electronically generate and transmit their invoices to KRA through the eTIMS platform. This comprehensive guide will equip you with everything you need to know about eTims in Kenya. We’ll delve into what it is, the various solutions available, its numerous benefits, and the step-by-step process for registration, invoice generation, and even printing.

By the end of this guide, you will be confident in navigating eTims and ensuring your business stays compliant with Kenyan tax regulations.

Introduction to eTims in Kenya

eTims stands for Electronic Tax Invoice Management System. In simpler terms, it is a software solution designed to streamline the process of issuing electronic tax invoices for businesses in Kenya. It is a digital upgrade from the old system called Tims. With eTims, businesses can generate invoices electronically, ensuring accuracy, security, and improved record keeping. Furthermore, eTims integrates seamlessly with the KRA systems, allowing for efficient tax filing and reducing the risk of errors.

Types of Digital Solutions Offered by eTims in Kenya

One of the biggest advantages of eTims is its flexibility. KRA recognizes that businesses come in all shapes and sizes, with varying needs and technical capabilities. To cater to this diversity, eTims offers a range of solutions:

  1. eTIMS Lite (Web): This user-friendly web application allows you to generate e-invoices directly through a web browser. No software download is required, making it a convenient option for businesses on the go.
  2. eTIMS Lite (USSD): This innovative solution leverages USSD technology, allowing you to generate basic e-invoices using your mobile phone. This is a game-changer for micro-businesses and those operating in remote locations with limited internet access.
  3. eTIMS Taxpayer Portal: This is the central hub of your eTims experience. It is a web-based portal that allows you to manage your eTims account, access various functionalities, and monitor your e-invoice activities.
  4. eTIMS Client: This downloadable software is ideal for businesses that prefer a desktop application for invoice generation. It offers all the core functionalities of eTims and can be installed on your computer.
  5. Virtual Sales Control Unit (VSCU): This advanced solution is designed for businesses with high transaction volumes. It allows for integration with your existing invoicing or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, enabling seamless data transfer and automated invoice generation.
  6. Online Sales Control Unit (OSCU): This cloud-based version of the VSCU offers similar functionalities but eliminates the need for software installation. It is a perfect option for businesses that prefer a web-based solution for managing their e-invoices.

By offering a variety of solutions, eTims ensures that every business in Kenya, regardless of size or technical expertise, can benefit from this efficient and user-friendly system.

Advantages of Integrating eTims into Your Business

There are numerous compelling reasons for Kenyan businesses to embrace eTims. Here is a breakdown of the key advantages:

  1. Simplified Tax Compliance: eTims simplifies tax compliance by eliminating the need for manual management of paper invoices and reducing data entry errors. All electronic invoices are stored securely within the system, readily accessible for tax filing purposes, ensuring a clear audit trail for the KRA.
  2. Reduced Costs: eTims is a free-to-use software solution offered by the KRA, resulting in significant cost savings for businesses that previously relied on expensive ETR Machines. These savings can be redirected to other areas of the business.
  3. Flexibility for Businesses: eTims offers a variety of solutions tailored to different business needs. Whether you are a small startup or a large corporation, there is an eTims solution that aligns with your requirements, ensuring that businesses of all sizes can leverage its advantages.
  4. Improved Record Keeping & Inventory Management: eTims serves as a centralized hub for electronic invoices, reducing the need for physical storage of paper invoices. This improves organization, making it easier to track sales trends, analyze inventory levels, and make informed business decisions.
  5. Potential Tax Deductions: Using eTims may qualify businesses for certain tax deductions. It’s advisable to consult with a registered tax advisor to explore the potential tax benefits associated with eTims adoption.
  6. Attracting New Business: Demonstrating commitment to tax compliance through eTims usage can build trust and credibility with potential clients, attracting new business and establishing your organization as responsible and reliable.

How to Sign Up and Get Started with eTims in Kenya

Now that you understand the benefits of eTims, let us walk you through the registration process. Here is a systematic guide to get you started:

  1. Visit the eTims Taxpayer Portal: Open your web browser and navigate to the official eTims Taxpayer Portal: eTims Portal. This is the central online platform for all your eTims activities.
  2. Sign Up for an Account:
    • Click on the “Sign Up” button located on the homepage.
    • Enter your valid KRA PIN (Kenya Revenue Authority Personal Identification Number) in the designated field.
    • You will receive a One-Time Password (OTP) on your mobile number registered with iTax. This is a security measure to verify your identity.
    • Enter the received OTP in the designated field on the sign-up page.
    • Create a strong password for your eTims account. Ensure it combines uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
e-TIMs sign up portal

Log In to Your Account:

  • Once you have successfully created your account, return to the eTims Taxpayer Portal homepage.
  • Enter your KRA PIN and the password you created during registration in the designated login fields.
  • Click the “Login” button to access your eTims dashboard.
e-TIMS taxpayers portal
e-TIMS taxpayers portal

Select Your Preferred eTims Solution:

  • Upon logging in, locate the section for “Service Request” and click on it.
  • You will see a list of available eTims solutions. Review the descriptions of each solution to determine the most suitable option for your business.

Upload Required Documents:

  • Once you have chosen your preferred eTims solution, upload specific documents for verification purposes. The required documents vary depending on your business structure:
    • Sole Proprietorship: Upload a clear copy of your valid Kenyan national identification card.
    • Partnership: Upload a copy of the partnership deed.
    • Company: Upload a copy of the Certificate of Incorporation or any other relevant registration document.

Submit Your Application:

  • After uploading the necessary documents, carefully review your application to ensure all information is accurate and complete.
  • Click the “Submit” button to send your eTims registration application to the KRA.

Application Approval:

  • The KRA will review your application and supporting documents. This process typically takes a few business days. You will receive a notification via email or SMS once your application is approved.

Congratulations! You are now officially registered for eTims in Kenya. The next section will guide you through generating invoices using your chosen eTims solution.

Detailed Instructions on Generating Invoices Using eTims

Now that you are registered for eTims and have chosen your preferred solution, it is time to explore how to generate electronic invoices. Here is a general overview of the process for eTims Lite (Web):

  1. Access Your eTims Account:
    • Launch your chosen eTims solution. For web-based solutions, log in to the eTims Taxpayer Portal. For the desktop application, open the eTims Client software. For eTims Lite (USSD), dial the designated USSD code on your mobile phone.
  2. Locate the Invoice Generation Feature:
    • Navigate to the section for creating invoices. This might be labeled “Invoice Generation,” “Issue Invoice,” or something similar. Here is the direct link https://ecitizen.kra.go.ke/invoicing
  3. Enter Invoice Details:
    • Customer Information: Enter the name and contact details of your customer, including their tax identification number (if applicable).
    • Invoice Details: Provide a unique invoice number, invoice date, and due date for payment.
    • Product or Service Details: Clearly list the products or services you are invoicing for, including a description, quantity, unit price, and any applicable taxes.
    • Payment Terms: Specify your payment terms, such as cash on delivery or net 30 days.
  4. Preview and Finalize Invoice:
    • Review the invoice for accuracy, ensuring all information is correct, including pricing, quantities, and tax calculations. Most eTims solutions offer a preview function.
  5. Generate and Save the Invoice:
    • Once satisfied, generate the electronic invoice. Depending on the solution, you might save the invoice as a PDF or send it electronically to your customer’s email address.

Guidelines for Printing and Ensuring the Accuracy of eTims Invoices

While eTims primarily focuses on digital invoicing, there might be situations where you need a physical copy of an invoice. Here is how to print eTims invoices in Kenya:

Web-Based Solutions (eTims Taxpayer Portal & eTims Lite (Web))

  1. Generate and Preview the Invoice:
    • Follow the steps outlined in the previous section on generating invoices with eTims.
    • Once you have finalized the invoice details and reviewed the preview, proceed to the next step.
  2. Printing Options:
    • Look for a button labeled “Print” or a printer icon within the invoice generation window.
    • Clicking on this option should initiate the printing process through your default web browser settings.
  3. Alternative Printing Method:
    • If a direct print option is not available, you can save the generated invoice as a PDF file.
    • Most web browsers allow you to save the displayed webpage as a PDF document.
    • Once saved, open the PDF file using your computer’s PDF reader application and print it from there.

Desktop Application (eTims Client)

  1. Generate the Invoice:
    • Follow the same process as with web-based solutions to generate the invoice within the eTims Client software.
  2. Printing Function:
    • The eTims Client software might have a built-in printing function.
    • Look for a menu option labeled “File” or “Print” and select the appropriate command to print the invoice directly from the application.
  3. Alternative Printing Method:
    • Similar to web-based solutions, you can export the generated invoice as a PDF file within the eTims Client software (if the option is available).
    • This allows you to print the invoice using your computer’s PDF reader.

Mobile Solution (eTims Lite (USSD))

Since eTims Lite (USSD) is a mobile phone-based solution with limited functionalities, generating a printable invoice might not be directly possible. This USSD solution is primarily designed for basic invoice creation on the go.

Additional Tips for Printing eTims Invoices:

  1. Ensure Proper Printer Setup:
    • Before attempting to print, make sure your printer is properly connected to your computer and has sufficient ink or toner cartridges.
  2. Paper Selection:
    • Use plain white paper of appropriate size for printing invoices.
  3. Print Quality:
    • For professional-looking invoices, choose a good print quality setting on your printer.
  4. Save Copies:
    • Always save a digital copy of the invoice (as a PDF) for your records, even if you print a physical copy.

Remember, while this guide provides a general overview of printing eTims invoices, it’s advisable to consult the user manuals or help resources specific to your chosen eTims solution for detailed instructions on printing functionalities. The KRA website might also offer helpful information on using different eTims solutions.

Answers to Common Queries Regarding eTims Usage in Kenya

  1. What is the difference between Tims and eTims?
    • Tims is the older system used by the KRA for invoice management, while eTims is the new digital version offering greater efficiency, security, and convenience.
  2. How much does eTims cost?
    • eTims is a free-to-use software solution offered by the KRA, with no licensing fees or additional costs.
  3. Who is exempt from using eTims?
    • Currently, no businesses are exempted from using eTims. Both VAT and non-VAT-registered businesses are required to comply and onboard eTims.
  4. Who needs to use eTims?
    • According to current regulations, all businesses registered with the KRA are required to use eTims for issuing electronic tax invoices.
  5. How do I activate my eTims account?
    • Activating your eTims account involves registering for an account on the eTims Taxpayer Portal, as detailed in the guide above.
  6. How do I create an invoice on eTims?
    • The specific steps for creating an invoice depend on the chosen eTims solution. Refer to the guide above for a general overview of the process.
  7. How do I verify an eTims receipt?
    • Every eTims-generated invoice contains a unique QR code and invoice number, allowing recipients to verify the authenticity of the invoice by scanning the QR code.
  8. When was eTims introduced?
    • eTims was introduced by the KRA in 2023, marking a significant step towards digitalizing tax processes in Kenya.
  9. What is the phone number for KRA eTims customer care?
    • The KRA provides a dedicated phone line for eTims customer care. You can reach them at the following numbers: 0709 016 995, 0709 017 719, 0709 017 731, 0709 017 718, 0709 017 724, 0709 017 735.
  10. How do I register for eTims in Kenya?
    • The registration process for eTims is detailed in the guide above. Follow the step-by-step instructions provided to register for your eTims account.

Final Thoughts on Improving Business Compliance through eTims in Kenya

The implementation of eTims in Kenya represents a significant step forward for businesses and the Kenyan tax administration. While navigating a new system may involve an initial learning curve, the long-term advantages of eTims are undeniable. We encourage you to explore the eTims system further. The KRA website offers a wealth of resources, including user manuals, tutorials, and FAQs, to guide you through the process. If you have specific questions on the implications of the launch of eTIMS for your business, please reach out to us through 0708 865 088 or email hello@burstdigital.co.ke.

This guide provides comprehensive information on activating and using eTims in Kenya in 2024, ensuring that your business stays compliant with tax regulations and benefits from the efficiency and convenience offered by this innovative system.

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