An important hallmark of an effective tax system is clarity. Tax laws and administration must be simple, clear and easy to understand, for them to be effective. In fact, the amount which a taxpayer has to pay should be certain and not arbitrary, and levied in a manner and at a time that is convenient to the taxpayer. Over the years, attempts at simplifying the Nigerian tax system have been made through legislative amendments, judicial decisions, regulations, information circulars and related publications by tax authorities. However, these have not been as regular as one would expect.
2017 was a rather uneventful year for tax dispute resolution. This is largely due to the non-reconstitution of the TAT by the FG since the tenure of the last set of TACs expired in 2016. This factor, coupled with others, has resulted in the prolongation of tax dispute resolution in Nigeria, as appeals filed at the TAT cannot be heard until the TAT is reconstituted. While taxpayers have no choice but to wait until the reconstitution of the TAT, the undesirable delay translates to loss of tax revenue to the Government, especially in terms of time value of money. We can only hope that the FG will expedite action to stop further losses in this regard.
There is also the need for the legislature and relevant policy makers to expedite the passage of relevant tax amendment Bills to provide a competitive tax climate for business. An efficient way of doing this is to return to the practice of enacting a Finance Act soon after the passage of the annual Federal Budget through which critical changes to the tax laws can be made proactively. This is the prevailing practice in many countries around the world, and was the norm in Nigeria during the military era.
As with the last edition, this compendium will serve as a reference material for tax administrations, practitioners and academics. We hope that you find the insights within the publication useful to you
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