L-R; Finance Minister, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed and FIRS Chairman, Tunde Fowler during the inauguration of new Commissioners of Tax Appeal Tribunal in Abuja on Monday

L-R; Finance Minister, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed and FIRS Chairman, Tunde Fowler during the inauguration of new Commissioners of Tax Appeal Tribunal in Abuja on Monday

 

Humongous sums: $19b, N206b, £821m trapped in Tax Tribunal across Nigeria

Nigeria’s Ministry of Finance on Monday disclosed that tax cases which are pending at various zones of the Tax Appeal Tribunal (TAT) amount to $19billion, N206 billion, £821 million.

Most of those cases involve multinationals doing businesses in Nigeria.

At the inauguration of new panels of Tax Appeal Commissioners in Abuja, the Finance Minister, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed charged the new Commissioners to work effectively and professionally to dissipate the load of cases pending at the Tribunals and help to generate revenue for the government.

“As Commissioners of the TAT, the expectation from all stakeholders are quite high, you are expected to discharge your duties with high level of professionalism, integrity and diligence and fairness to all parties in order to engender public trust and confidence in our tax system”, the Minister said.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mahmoud Isa-Dutse had said the figures are from 209 unresolved cases emanating from taxpayers and tax authorities.

“A review of the activities if the Tribunal shows that at inception in 2010, TAT inherited a total of 122 appeals from the defunct Body of Appeal Commissioners (BAC) and Value Added Tax (VAT) Tribunals. A total of 489 new appeals have been filed at respective zones of the Tribunal between June 2010 and September 2018. So far, 409 cases have been concluded within the same period. As at the end of 3rd quarter, 2018, report shows that a total number of 209 appeals amounting to about $19billion, N206 billion and £821 million are pending across the zones.

“Interestingly, from the trend of activities in the zones in the past years, it is anticipated that following the reconstitution of the Tribunals, additional new cases will be filed which will further increase the caseload. From the foregoing data, it is evident that the task before the new Commissioners are enormous.

“Most of the pending cases involve multinational companies and issues for determination are highly technical and painstaking. Therefore, you are expected to hit the ground running immediately after your inauguration.

The government in its desire to strengthen the operations of the TAT has taken some strategic measures including the issuance of TAT (procedure) Rules 2010 which apply to proceeding before the Tribunal and ensures compliance with standard procedural practice”, Isa-Dutse said.

The Minister added that Nigeria’s government is interested in getting the TAT working.

“The government’s desire to achieve sustainable growth and development of our economy has informed the concerted effort by successive governments over the time to reform the Nigerian tax system among others. One of the outcomes of the series of reforms is the strengthening of the appeal process and creation of TAT by the FG in 2010. Undoubtedly, the establishment of the TAT marked a very important milestone in the annals our nation’s tax dispute resolution mechanism”, she said.

With following words, the Minister reconstituted the TAT Panels:

“By the powers conferred on me, by Paragraph 2(1) of the Fifth Schedule of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) Establishment Act, 2007, I Mrs. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, Honourable Minster of Finance, Federal Republic of Nigeria, on this 5th day of November, 2018, formally inaugurate you as Commissioners of the Tax Appeal Tribunal”.

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