The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) on 23 March 2020 announced the following tax relief measures to address the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on taxpayers:
- Extension of the due date for filing of value added tax (VAT) and withholding tax returns from the 21st day of the month to the last business day of the month, following the month of deduction
- Extension of the due date for filing of the companies income tax return by one month
- Use of electronic platforms for paying taxes and processing tax clearance certificates
- Electronic filing of tax returns by taxpayers
- Filing of tax returns by taxpayers without audited financial statements which must be submitted within two months of the revised due date of filing
- Proposed creation of a portal where documents required for desk reviews and tax audits will be uploaded by taxpayers for online access by the tax authority.
- Submission of tax returns online by taxpayers via efiling.firs.gov.ng or by designated e-mail accounts published by the FIRS.
- 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.
- Extension of personal income tax (PIT) returns filing deadline for personnel of Foreign Affairs, Military and Police, and non-resident persons by three months from 31 March 2010 to 30 June 2020.
In addition, an “Emergency Economic Stimulus Bill, 2020” was passed by the House of Representatives (HoR) to:
- Grant a tax rebate of 50% of the actual amount due or paid as pay-as-you-earn, to Nigerian companies who retain all their employees from 1 March 2020 to 31 December 2020.
- Suspend import duties on medical equipment, medicines and personal protective gears required for treatment and management of COVID-19 for six months, effective 1 March 2020.
- Introduce a new moratorium on mortgage obligations of Nigerians under the National Housing Fund.
The Bill is yet to be passed by the Senate.
The FIRS recently announced the following additional measures to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on taxpayers:
- Waiver of late returns penalty for taxpayers who pay their tax liabilities early but submit their tax returns later. Evidence of tax payment can be forwarded to the relevant FIRS e-mail address, or submitted later to the appropriate tax office
- Extension of timeline for remittance of VAT from the 21st day to the last day of the month, following the month of deduction
- 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
- Extension of personal income tax (PIT) returns filing deadline for personnel of Foreign Affairs, Military and Police, and non-resident persons by three months from 31 March 2010 to 30 June 2020
- Indefinite suspension of all field tax audit, investigation and monitoring visits.
Donation to COVID-19 Fund to be tax deductible – Minister of Finance (MoF)
The MoF, in a press statement, promised to issue an Executive Order granting additional tax reliefs to organizations that make donations to the COVID-19 fund in Nigeria. The Executive Order is yet to be issued.
FIRS waives penalty and interest on outstanding tax liabilities
The FIRS on Thursday, 30 April 2020, issued a Public Notice announcing its decision to waive interest and penalties on outstanding tax debts arising from desk reviews, tax audits and investigations. However, to be eligible for the relief, affected taxpayers must settle their outstanding tax debts in full by 31 May 2020.
Exemption of Medical Supplies from VAT and Import Duty
On 30 April 2020, the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, issued a Circular exempting importers of specified medical supplies from payment of import duties and value added tax (VAT) on such items for a six-month period in the first instance, with effect from 1 May 2020.
FIRS extends AEOI-CRS filing deadline
On 19 May 2020, the FIRS announced the extension of the deadline for Financial Institutions to file their annual returns for Automatic Exchange of Information-Common Reporting Standard (AEOI–CRS) from 31 May 2020 to 30 September 2020.
Additional information regarding employment-related measures, economic stimulus measures and other meausers.