Tribunal orders ex-NBA president Daudu to pay FIRS N248 million
The Tax Appeal Tribunal, Abuja has ordered a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Joseph Daudu, to pay N.248.5 million to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), being his tax assessments.
The fund comprised N176,565,016.74 as value-added tax (VAT) from 2010-2017 and N71,987,564.52 as withholding tax (WHT) from 2010-2017.
The appellant, Mr Daudu, had challenged an alleged N1.2 billion tax error in his taxation carried out by FIRS by filing an appeal before the tribunal.
The tribunal, in addition, made an order on Mr Daudu’s residency regarding his income tax.
In the judgment, the tribunal equally stated that the appellant was liable to interest on the judgment sum and interest at the prevailing Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) rediscount rate from the date of judgment until the judgment debt was liquidated.
Delivering the judgment, the tribunal chairman, Alice Iriogbe, noted that the tribunal formulated five issues to arrive at its decision, including whether or not the appellant, as a legal practitioner, who did not deal in primary goods should be assessed on WHT.
Another issue was whether or not the tribunal could validly make an order against the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), not being a party in the appeal.
Other issues formulated by the tribunal was whether or not it found anything against the respondent for collaborating with the EFCC in its investigation to ascertain the appellant’s tax assessments and whether or not the tax assessments on the appellant had become final.
In providing answers to the issues formulated, the tribunal ruled that the appellant, in line with section 40 of the FIRS Act, 2019, as a person and legal practitioner, was deemed a legal entity assessable and liable to pay WHT as he rendered, received services and paid remuneration to legal practitioners working for him.
In response to the issue of the tribunal making an order against EFCC, the tribunal held that it found it unnecessary to make a pronouncement, being that the commission was not a party in the appeal.
The tribunal, however, stated that it found nothing wrong with the respondent collaborating with the EFCC and equally found nothing wrong in the invitation of the appellant to a tax audit.
Mr Daudu had petitioned the tribunal regarding FIRS’ error on assessments of his WHT, income tax, and VAT from 2010 to 2017.
Specifically, he expressed dissatisfaction with assessing him for WHT and VAT to the sum of N1. 2 billion. Mr Daudu claimed that it was a misnomer for him, who operated a law firm as a legal practitioner and did not deal in primary goods, to be assessed on WHT.
FIRS, in its argument, said its assessments were not in error, that Mr Daudu did not deduct and remit WHT on some expenses and payments made under the period in review.
Therefore, the FIRS prayed the tribunal to declare that the notices of Mr Daudu for the 2010 to 2017 assessment were right, urging the tribunal for an order mandating the appellant to pay N1.2 billion, being the appellant’s liability for WHT, personal income tax, and VAT for 2010 to 2017 years of assessment.
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