EndSARS: FIRS Nigeria grants tax palliative

While Nigeria was trying to recover from the economic disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic, another nationwide lockdown emerged in October 2020. The lockdown was an outcome of the EndSARS protest. EndSARS is a movement to stop police brutality in Nigeria as well as to seek political and economic reforms. The peaceful movement in October 2020 later turned violent and led to socio-economic issues. They include loss of lives, vandalism of properties, looting of businesses, insecurity, hunger, and anger. The federal tax authority has introduced palliatives to ease the disruption of the EndSARS protest on taxpayers.


Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) will waive interest and penalty on tax liabilities arising from self-assessment, desk audit, field audit, or investigation if a business pays in full the principal part of outstanding tax liabilities. The time frame is between 4 November 2020 and 31 December 2020. Other concessions include the extension of filing monthly withholding tax (WHT) and value added tax (VAT) returns to the end of the month. Before the waiver, the due date was the 21st of the month following the transaction. Taxpayers who are unable to source for FOREX to settle their tax liabilities can pay in Naira. The rate will be the prevailing Investors and Exporters (I & E) FOREX window rate on the day of payment.


BRC comments

Though Nigeria relied on oil revenue for several years, the dwindling price of crude oil called for a paradigm shift. The focus of an alternative source of inflows became non-oil receipts such as taxes. Yet, the amount of the nation’s tax revenue depends on the level of economic activities, accountability, and other factors. In the second and third quarters of 2020, FIRS offered the same palliatives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This notice from FIRS will bring the total time to claim tax palliative in the year 2020 to 181 days. Still, a rational business that had a medium-high level of disruption will need to generate cash flow first before settling tax debts. The waiver may favor taxpayers that experienced a slight level of business disruption. To download FIRS public notice on tax palliative in response to EndSARS protest in Nigeria, click here.

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