The Honourable Minister of Finance (HMoF), on Thursday, 12 July 2018, announced the reconstitution of the Tax Appeal Tribunal (TAT) in the six (6) geopolitical zones of Nigeria, in addition to Lagos and Abuja. This is pursuant to the powers conferred on the HMoF by Paragraph 1(2) of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act, 2007.
The timing of the reconstitution of the TAT is auspicious, as it provides the Government with a possible option to give some bite to its promised crackdown on tax evaders after the 30 June 2018 expiration of the one-year Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme.
Members of the reconstituted TAT (known as Tax Appeal Commissioners), who are expected to hold office for a term of 3 years from their date of appointment, were drafted from various professional bodies such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, Association of National Accountants of Nigeria, the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, the Nigerian Bar Association and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce & Industry, Mines and Agriculture. A number of the new Commissioners have extensive experience in tax administration, policy, enforcement and practice, having served for many years at the Federal Inland Revenue Service. We hope that the reconstituted TAT will be able to discharge its statutory function effectively and efficiently with such a wide representation.
The TAT is primarily set up as an administrative court to adjudicate over disputes, and controversies which may arise from the following tax laws:
The tenure of the previous Tax Appeal Commissioners expired in May 2016, which resulted in the TAT’s technical suspension until now, and created a two-year vacuum in tax dispute resolution in Nigeria. Given the plethora of tax appeals that accumulated during the interregnum, the reconstitution of the TAT by the Federal Government is a welcome development.
Taxpayers aggrieved by decisions of any tax authority in Nigeria now have the option to seek redress at the TAT. Those with pending cases at the TAT should expect to receive notifications from the relevant Zones of the TAT for the continuation of such appeals.
The Tax Dispute Resolution Practice at KPMG Nigeria is structured to leverage global and local talent and experience in representing our clients at Tax Tribunals such as the TAT and also, in providing expert witness services in support of interpreting controversial provisions of the tax law. We will be supporting our clients by representing them at the TAT and ensuring that their positions are properly considered before final decisions are taken.
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