FIRS vows to publicly name, shame tax defaulting states, local governments

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has approached the National Assembly to move Valued Added Tax and other tax related matters to the exclusive list, which is aimed at granting the federal tax body exclusive rights to collect local consumption taxes in states of the federation.

The move comes on the heels of agitations by Katsina State Governor Aminu Masari, Gombe State Governor Inuwa Yahaya and a few others from predominantly northern parts of the country against attempts by Southern states, notably Lagos and Rivers State, to deny FIRS VAT collection powers.

In a letter addressed to the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Idris Wase, the body requested a sponsorship of “A Bill for the establishment of the proposed Federal Revenue Court of Nigeria and the insertion of Value Added Tax under Item 58 of Exclusive Legislative List.”

“The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) further proposes for the amendment of Section 251(1)(b) of the Constitution of FRN 1999 (Amended) by removing the exclusive jurisdiction of Federal High Court only on anything connected or related to Federal tax matters since same would be vested on the proposed Federal Revenue Court,” the letter said, “The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) also proposes for the insertion of the Value Added Tax immediately after Stamp Duties under item 58 Part II. 2nd schedule of the 1999 Constitution of the FRN.”

The letter also asks the legislators to include tax disputes, including federal tax laws, companies income tax, petroleum tax, income tax, capital gain tax, stamp duty within the federal collector’s jurisdiction.

Recall that in August, a Port Harcourt Division of the Federal High Court ruled that states had the legal right to collect VAT and income tax within their jurisdiction and not the FIRS.

However, FIRS chairman Mohammed Nami asked companies to ignore the court ruling and appealed the judgement, asking businesses and individuals to continue remitting funds to it.

The Rivers State Government ordered the immediate enforcement of its Value Added Tax Law 2021 across the entire state, following the failure of the FIRS to secure a stay-of-execution order against the state.

Still, FIRS responded by maintaining that it will continue to collect VAT until the matter is settled at the Supreme Court.


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