Ignore Wike, preserve paying us VAT, FIRS urges Rivers taxpayers

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has urged taxpayers, especially those in the state of Rivers, to keep paying their sales tax (VAT) to them to avoid penalties for failing to do so.

Abdullahi Ahmad, Director, Communications and Liaison Department of FIRS, gave the advice in a statement in Abuja on Sunday.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how encouraged by a recent ruling by Port Harcourt Federal Court, Rivers state governor Nyesom Wike signed a bill on Thursday that authorizes the Rivers State Government to collect the value added tax (VAT) in the state from now on.

In addition to VAT, the court ruled that the Rivers state government, and not the federal government representative – FIRS – was empowered by the Nigerian constitution to collect personal income taxes in the state.

It may be too early to draw any conclusions about the impact of this development as FIRS has appealed the ruling

However, the FIRS official said the agency had decided to adopt the policy after numerous investigations into the recent ruling.

The FIRS spokesman stated that the organization had already appealed the judgment requesting a stay of enforcement and that the status quo ante of VAT collection should exist.

He said taxpayers should keep paying their VAT to FIRS.

“FIRS was made aware of the trend report that the Rivers state government will take steps to pass a sales tax law for the Rivers state on August 19, 2021 following the judgment of the Federal High Court Port Harcourt Division on August 9, 2021 in suit no: CS / 149/2020.

“The lawsuit was about who has the constitutional duty to collect sales tax and income tax in the state of Rivers.

“We would like to inform the public that FIRS appealed the above judgment prior to the above actions by the Rivers State Government and also filed a motion to stay the enforcement of the judgment and requested the court for an injunction pending a ruling on the calling.

“All parties to the litigation are aware that both applications were heard on August 19 and 20, 2021 and are awaiting a decision by the court.

“In view of the fact that the appellate court still has to decide on the appeal against the judgment of the Federal Supreme Court and that the Federal Supreme Court still decides on the applications of FIRS for suspension of enforcement and an injunction,” he said.

Mr. Ahmad urged the public to continue to meet their VAT obligations “until the matter is resolved by the appeals court”. (NAN)

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