CEM REPORT, FINANCE | The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has declared its intentions to retrieve unremitted taxes from international petroleum shipping companies operating in Nigeria.
The tax value which is placed at over ₦553 billion was accrued between 2010 to 2019.
The move according to Abdullahi Aliyu, a director at the FIRS, is to help address the nation’s budget deficits of ₦11.34 trillion.
While speaking at a virtual summit organised by the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping (NCS) on Wednesday, he noted that the ₦553 billion represent 5.03 per cent of the nation’s budget deficits and would be an alternative to addressing Nigeria’s economic tribulations instead of borrowing.
At the event theme; “Sensitising the Nigerian maritime industry on the new tax policy and objectives”, the director stated that most operators in the oil sector were culpable of non-tax remittance unlike shipping companies involved in dry cargo activities in Nigeria and foreign airlines who he applauded.
“The onus is on global businesses to understand the local laws and taxation in the countries where they transact business, and these specific laws have been in place in the nation for decades.
“Nigerian taxes are more favourable to non-residents compared to indigenous companies, thereby creating an unfair business environment for local operators.”
On his part, Oluwole Oni, Assistant Director, Tax, FIRS, said that the agency had written officially to operators who owed taxes for the period between 2010 and 2019, adding that the companies were expected to send in their responses within 30 days.
“Those who received the letters are expected to send in their responses which aren’t only about payment. The response can be an acknowledgement of receipt, a demand for clarification, or payment.
“The first step to compliance is registration with FIRS and most operators are yet to register,” Oni said.
He stressed that “Irrespective of the commercial arrangement adopted by the non-resident vessels to lift crude oil from Nigeria, freight income attributable to Nigeria is taxable in line with the Companies Income Tax Act (CITA).”