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FIRS grants further palliatives in response to recent business disruptions

Tax Alert: Issue No. 11.1 | November 2020

FIRS grants further palliatives in response to recent business disruptions

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Wole Obayomi

Partner & Head, Tax, Regulatory & People Services

KPMG in Nigeria

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End SARS

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) on Wednesday, 4 November 2020 issued a Public Notice announcing an additional window for waiver of penalty and interest on outstanding tax liabilities arising from self-assessments, desk reviews, tax audits and investigations. However, affected taxpayers must settle their outstanding tax debts in full by Thursday, 31 December 2020 in order to qualify for the relief.

The palliative is to cushion the impact of the losses suffered by businesses due to the disruption and property destruction experienced following the EndSARS protests. This is in addition to the following existing palliative measures earlier announced to mitigate the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on taxpayers:

  • Extension of timeline for filing of value added tax and withholding tax from the 21st day to the last working day of the month; and
  • Taxpayers facing challenges in sourcing foreign exchange (FOREX) to settle tax liabilities on their FOREX-denominated transactions are permitted to pay the naira equivalent, based on the prevailing Investors & Exporters FOREX window rate on the day of payment.

Comments

The latest palliative is a welcome development as the unrest has further worsened the situation of businesses which are still challenged by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

While we commend the FIRS for being sensitive to the challenges being faced by businesses at this time, the deadline of 31 December 2020 may not be sufficient for taxpayers given the magnitude of the twin impact of the pandemic and the recent unrest on their finances. Thus, the FIRS should be open to taxpayers’ application for extension of time to settle their outstanding tax liabilities as they struggle to generate sufficient cashflow to stay afloat. The FIRS should further consider extending the waiver to taxpayers who have ascertained their undisputed tax positions but are yet to resolve their disputes with the FIRS. This will enable such taxpayers to take advantage of the relief pending resolution of their disputes with the FIRS.

Meanwhile, it is expected that affected taxpayers will embrace the new palliative and use their best endeavours to comply within the deadline, or otherwise proactively engage the FIRS to agree a mutually acceptable arrangement.

Please click here to read the FIRS’ Public Notice.

For further enquiries, please contact:

Wole Obayomi

ng-fmtaxenquiries@ng.kpmg.com

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