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FIRS appoints MTN, Airtel, banks to collect VAT

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has appointed MTN and Airtel, as well as money deposit banks in Nigeria to withhold value added tax (VAT) charged on all taxable supplies made to them, and remit to the Service.

The FIRS gave this information in a public notice it issued on November 1, signed by its Executive Chairman, Muhammad Nami.

Nami explained in the statement the role of the companies and the obligations of their suppliers with regard to the withholding of VAT.

The notice read, “This Notice is given to all persons carrying on trade, profession or business of any kind, tax practitioners and the general public that, with effect from 1st January, 2023; in line with the provisions of Section 14(3) of the Value Added Tax Act Cap. V1 LFN 2004 (as amended), the following companies are appointed to withhold or collect VAT charged on all taxable supplies made to them: MTN, Airtel, and all money deposit banks — as defined by the CBN Guidelines.”

According to the FIRS, these companies were expected to remit, in the currency of transaction, the tax they would withhold on or before the 21st day of the month immediately following the month the tax was withheld, in the format prescribed by the Service.

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The notice also informed that tax withheld or collected under this notice shall be remitted in the format prescribed by the Service but separately from VAT due on the companies’ taxable supplies.”

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It further explained the options that were available to suppliers of these companies whose output tax is withheld.

“A supplier whose output tax is withheld, as provided in this notice, may deduct the input tax paid on the goods purchased or imported to make the taxable supply from the output tax collected on other taxable supplies.

“And where the input tax paid to make the supply is not fully recovered from the output tax on other taxable supplies, the balance is refundable to the supplier; provided that a supplier who is entitled to a refund may utilise the amount refundable to offset future VAT liability or request for a cash pay-out,” the notice explained.

It noted that the Service had instituted adequate measures to ensure prompt payment of refundable input tax under this arrangement, while also stating that input tax claims, which include refunds, are subject to the limitations imposed by Section 17(2)(a) of the VAT Act.

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