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FIRS Directs International Shipping Companies to Regularise Tax Position or Face Sanctions


CEM REPORT, FINANCE | The federal government has directed all International Shipping Companies (ISC) operating in Nigerian territorial waters to regularise their tax positions before the close of the year.

The federal government through the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), noted that enforcement against defaulting international shipping companies will commence after 31st December, 2023.

The directive was contained in a circular signed by the service chairman, Muhammad Nami published on FIRS’s official X handle.

“The Service hereby requests all international shipping companies operating in Nigerian territorial waters in whatever capacity (containerised, bulk cargo, fishing trawlers, crude oil or natural gas lifting vessels, dredging, survey, Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading, etc.) to immediately regularise their tax positions.”

While noting that actions will be taken against defaulting international shipping companies, the circular stated that all regularization of outstanding tax returns should be concluded at the service Non-Resident Persons Tax Office no later than 31st December 2023.

“All affected international shipping lines must conclude the regularization of their outstanding tax returns at the Non-Resident Persons Tax Office (17B Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos) no later than 31st December 2023.

“The Service is collaborating with relevant government regulatory and security agencies in the maritime sector to commence enforcement action on all defaulting shipping companies after the expiration of the grace period of 31st December 2023.”

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The recently released circular is in furtherance of an earlier circular dated 3rd June 2021 on the “taxation of international shipping and airlines” and public notice of 17th December 2021 on the “tax compliance of international shipping lines”.

The circular requested all international shipping companies to regularise their tax affairs with the Service within three months of the date of that publication.

However many international shipping lines have not complied with the tax obligations, the recent circular stated.

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