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There has been tremendous growth in the realm of information technology which has come with benefits as well as challenges to the existing legal regimes. This thesis acknowledged a government’s enormous task of finding ways of raising revenue and one such potential source of revenue for governments was identified as e-commerce.

This thesis identified the impact brought about by e-commerce especially in regard to taxation and also investigated how e-commerce interacts with the traditional principles of taxation based on physical presence and physical delivery of goods and services.

The thesis examined the concept of e-commerce and then explored the international initiatives to promote and regulate e-commerce by the United Nations, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Union (EU). The thesis also delved on VAT as an indirect tax and investigated its nature.


The existing legal regime on VAT at the international scene mainly the OECD and EU was canvassed in this thesis. The input of the EU in applying VAT regime to taxation of e-commerce was put forth as arguably the most advanced in the world and was therefore seen as providing a detailed understanding of the topic. A comparative study of those measures taken by India was made in this thesis coupled with an examination of the existing Kenyan VAT Law.


The thesis conceded that e-commerce poses concomitant challenges especially in taxation of consumption taxes such as VAT. It also highlighted the challenges posed in taxation of VAT in e-commerce, together with recommendations for reform. The major challenges arise from the structural nature of internet and the ability to establish public and private global communications systems that are secure and inexpensive to operate.

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