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Financial Literacy

FIRS could seal your office if you get these two notices

FIRS has made it clear to businesses in Nigeria that it is serious about tackling tax evasion.

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FIRS could seal your office if you get these two notices

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has made it clear to businesses in Nigeria that it is serious about tackling tax evasion. Once the Chairman of the FIRS, Tunde Fowler, took over at the helm of the agency, he promised to increase tax collection as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product.

Mr. Fowler was notably successful in increasing tax collection in Lagos state throughout the period that he headed the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS). For those who do not know how he operates, his foot soldiers are very aggressive with tax collection and do not hesitate to seal off companies that do not pay tax.

Some of his methods are said to be high-handed and often detrimental to small businesses but they have largely worked, as Lagos state leads other states in terms of internally generated revenue. The state’s IGR has grown from about N149 billion in 2010 to about N268 billion in 2015. Mr. Fowler obviously set out to replicate some of the methods he used in driving IGR collection in Lagos state at the federal level.

Relying on some of the news reports we have gathered and experiences of some of the affected companies, we now fairly understand what they do before they seal off any organization.

  1. They give you an assessment of what you owe: Before the tax authorities seal off your premises, they first send you a tax assessment of what you owe. Tax assessments can be done in two ways. It’s either they assess your tax liabilities after obtaining your financial records, or they pass a Best of Judgement Assessment (BOJ). A BOJ is an assessment done without relying or partly relying on your financial records. Once an assessment is done, they send a letter to your registered address or the most visible location of your offices. The FIRS often gives a period of two weeks or less for response.
  2. They send you a demand notice: If after sending you a notice of assessment for how much tax you likely owe, you do not respond, they send you a demand notice. A demand notice can also be sent if negotiations break down between you and the tax authority. A demand notice is basically a letter of demand that you pay tax to the FIRS. The demand notice will include the estimated tax liabilities computed against your company, as well as any penalty or charges that may have accrued due to your inability to pay your tax within the required period. A demand notice, in some cases, has a one-month period for the tax payer to respond to it.
  3. Seal off offices: After the stipulated period in demand notice has elapsed and no agreement has been reached, the tax authority will get their enforcement unit to seal off your office premises. We have seen instances where the enforcement unit actually sealed off offices even when negotiations were ongoing. The order to seal off offices often comes from the FIRS HQ, which makes it difficult for the local offices to reverse.

We often advise startups or companies to try to pay up a part of what they feel is their tax liability once an assessment notice is received. After making payments, follow-up with self instigated meetings with the Inland Revenue. We also advise that you go with a qualified and experienced tax consultant.

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This article was first published on Nairametrics on July 3 2016.

Nairametrics is Nigeria's top business news and financial analysis website. We focus on providing resources that help small businesses and retail investors make better investing decisions. Nairametrics is updated daily by a team of professionals. Post updated as "Nairametrics" are published by our Editorial Board.

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Personal Finance

Legit ways to make money with your phone

In today’s world, phones have become an asset, allowing one to do simple jobs that would have previously needed the use of computers.

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CBN begins dialogue with industry stakeholders on USSD charges , Legit Ways to Make Money With Your Phone

One of the significant strongholds of technology advancement is the emergence of smartphones, which you can basically do anything on. The quality of smartphones has dramatically reduced the use of computers for basic tasks like browsing the internet or viewing a document. More importantly, jobs that would have otherwise be done on computers can be quickly done on mobile phones. This has made phones an asset, especially with the emergence of legit ways to make money with your phone from any location.

The fantastic thing about these jobs is the fact that they still allow you to keep your 9 to 5 job. You can smoothly run them on the side and get extra cash to pay your bills.

This article unveils seven legit ways to make money with your phone. Keep reading to learn about them, and choose the one that suits you best.

  • Online tutor: Having a phone gives you direct access to the internet as well as online learning platforms that you can earn from. Are you good at something? Simply register on one of those platforms and offer your knowledge for a fee. These days, you do not even need a professional camera or studio. Instead, you can simply make a video with your phone’s camera, as far as it is decent enough. If your content is good, people will keep coming.

(READ MORE:10 side businesses to sustain your professional career)

  • Earn from YouTube: YouTube is one of the few social media platforms that pay the people using it. To benefit from this payment, all you need to do is open a channel and get people to watch your videos. Some of the videos that attract lots of views are comedy skits, fashion advice, how to do stuff, and even tutorials. Once again, as long as your phone has a good camera, you can simply make your video with it and expand as you earn. Many of these large YouTube channels started with mobile phones.
  • Own your eCommerce business: eCommerce businesses is no longer as complicated as it once was. Today, all you need to start one is your mobile phone as there are platforms that offer everything else. Websites like eBay and Jiji simply allows you to take a picture of your good, upload it, and wait for interested customers to make a bid. You can sell anything on these apps, and the better rating and review you have, the more trust people would have in your product. All you need to start earning money is your phone and whatever you intend to sell.
  • Freelance: Freelancing is basically offering your services on the internet for money. As long as you have a good internet connection and a decent phone, you are good to go. Jobs like writing, copywriting, and graphics designing can be easily done on a mobile phone. You can visit and register with popular freelance websites like fiver and Upwork to get started.
  • Watching videos: Believe it or not, there are websites that pay you to watch videos. For most of them, it’s a larger scale of digital marketing, which you do not really have to get involved in. Simply stream a video, advert or clips, and get paid for doing so. One of the most common apps that do this is Swagbucks. They pay you for watching videos, shopping, and taking surveys, and offers different means through which you can redeem your payment. Swagbucks services are, however, restricted based on locations, as tasks to earn money are not readily available compared to other areas. Fronto is another popular app that offers the same services too.

(READ MORE: Budgeting on a fluctuating income)

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  • Taking paid surveys: Paid surveys is one of the easiest ways to make money with your phone. Like watching videos, taking paid surveys is part of a broader scope investigation that companies invest in to understand customers’ perspectives. They rate this so important that they are ready to pay you to complete surveys containing different questions. All you need to get started is your phone, and then open an account with the platform. Some of the websites that offer this are InboxDollars and Opinion space. The availability of surveys is based on your geo-locations.
  • Virtual assistant: Although being a virtual assistant might hinder you from having a daily job, its pay is enough to cover your needs. As a virtual assistant, all you need to do is offer your services to individuals or companies with a lot of work to do. It could range from simple tasks using excel sheets to managing documents and compiling reports. Most of these works can be done on your phone. The difficult thing about virtual assistant jobs is that you would have to seek it like a regular job. You apply and go through recruitment processes like a regular job.

Although there are a ton of other money-making applications that you can earn from on your phone, most focus on some specific locations. The location favors those in Europe and the US and a little bit of Africa. However, the methods above are universal and work in Nigeria. You should try them out and start making money off your phone today.

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Personal Finance

Best ways to get free money with little or no effort

A good definition of free money with little or no effort is making money without a 9 to 5 job.

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Being successful has always been the goal, and would always be, and a large chunk of it is often determined by how much money you have. This is why many seek both passive and active ways to make money and hold 9 to 5 jobs while making side investments. The best and most convenient way to make money is when you do so with little or no effort. Sounds too good to be true? Read on to find out the best ways to get free money with little or no effort.

A good definition of free money with little or no effort is making money without a 9 to 5 job. Working all day to make money is stressful and not what this article focuses on. With the right combination of skills and the processes listed below, you can make money and remain lazier than you would have been with a standard job. Here are some of the best ways to do this:

  • Online sales: The emergence of e-commerce websites like Etsy means that you no longer have to go out there searching for customers. You can make a lot of money sitting at home by simply creating an account on the platform. The fantastic thing is that you do not even need to have the goods to sell stored in a warehouse somewhere. Instead, you can make a deal with store owners and put their products on your page. You can bargain commission on any product sales you make. That’s it, no much work, no investment, only profit.
  • Drive people around: Believe it or not, driving is one of the most lucrative businesses in Nigeria. This holds especially for busy areas like Lagos, and you can make a lot of money by only driving people around. You would be shocked at how many people are willing to pay double or triple the regular fee to have the car all to themselves. An excellent example of this is uber driving. This is one of the ways that require little effort, just drive!

(READ MORE:If you had $100,000 in cash, where would you invest it in US markets?)

  • Invest in high dividend stocks: To pull this off, you would need to invest a substantial sum. The plan is to invest in high dividend stocks and receive extra for it. Dividend stocks are when companies give shareholders additional stocks, which could be due to different reasons. Investing in one would see you earn more value in worth (which you can sell for profit) without literally doing anything. Simply wait and watch your investment bloom. However, understanding the stock market is very important, as a blind investment could see you lose a lot of money.
  • Sell your photography: This process is simple. Just take pictures and sell them off on the internet. Picture giants like iStock and Shutterstock are always looking to purchase new images. Simply log in and follow their guidelines, as anyone can submit a photo to be included. When anyone downloads your photo, you get a commission. That’s all, simply take pictures and make a lot of money.
  • Invest in real estate: Making money through real estate requires a large upfront investment, although it compensates with a large payout too. If you have the money, investing in real estate is one of the easiest ways to make free money with little or no effort. All you would need to do after investing is managing your property.
  • Take online surveys and play video games: Sounds like the perfect life, right? It can actually be. Some sites would pay you to complete their surveys and play videogames for feedbacks. These data, so to say, are sold to research firms that are trying to understand consumer habits.

(READ MORE: Where to invest $10,000 right now)

  • Open a high-interest savings account: This is another way to get free money by literally doing nothing order than paying a certain sum into your account. A high-interest savings account offers you greater interest compared to a regular savings account, as long as you leave your money for an agreed time. However, these accounts have a minimum opening balance that varies from one bank to another, and it’s usually not a small sum.
  • Sell your old stuff: This is kind of straight forward. Do you have things that you no longer use? Simply put them up for sale on an e-commerce website. Selling them would see you kill two birds with a stone. This is because you would both declutter your home and make money in the process while doing nothing literally.

These are some of the best ways that you can make free money with little or no effort. They all work, therefore study them, and combine the methods that work best for you. With the right dedication, you can start making money in a day or two by only doing the barest minimum.

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Personal Finance

Top 10 financial planning tips for newlyweds

Here are the basic steps to take to help you set your post-wedding finances on the right track as a couple.

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Financial problems are a major contributor of divorce by 36.7% according to Shelby B. Scott’s research. Before you work down the aisle, it is important to have a conversation around your finances. Start with the financial aspect of planning a wedding. Every female’s dream is to have a fairy tale wedding, but it is to the detriment of your finances, for those who cannot afford it.

Though your dream wedding can be achievable when planned and budgeted wisely, a lot of couples still make the mistake of spending money on extraneous things just to have a big and a fairy tale wedding, without having an upright plan for their future.

No wedding has won an Oscar award for being the biggest and no matter how glamorous your big day is, another person’s wedding will surpass it. Furthermore, taking a loan for a wedding is one of the financial mistakes some people make. They take a loan to impress people and end up starting their union on debts. It is important for one to cut down on expenses as weddings are mere events, while marriages are the main journey.

Congratulations! Your wedding was successful, you are ready to embrace each other’s outstanding qualities, unconditionally accept each other’s plight, and set plans on how to manage your finances to have a blissful union.

Here are the basic steps to take to help you set your post-wedding finances on the right track as a couple.

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Have money discussions

Before you walk down the aisle and commit to spending the rest of your lives together, you need to talk about how you will be spending your money as a couple. A lot of people are married but unhappy and the cause has to do with financial dilemmas.

Money has a huge role to play when it comes to having a happy and healthy union, so couples should dedicate time to discuss how they are going to manage their finances to avoid having money problems. An example is having a discussion around your salaries, savings, debts, spending habits and also discuss if you both want to merge your bank accounts or have a separate account.

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Be honest with your finance

Honesty has to do with having an open and honest discussion about your financials – both past and future, and it is vital to your financial success as a couple. Everyone has their own money habits, which have been shaped by their past experiences. Approaching money issues honestly and openly gives you a much better chance at having a strong, healthy financial relationship.

Make commitments to each other

No one cares more about your financial security than the two of you. Make a promise to each other to take joint responsibility and take steps to better your overall financial position by paying down debts, establishing a savings habit and investing in viable investment source for healthy long-term returns.

Have a budget

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Setting financial goals together should be your top priority. It is important that the goals are specific and achievable. Set goals that are equally rewarding, so that you both will be motivated to achieve them. Depend on each other for support and encourage one another to stay focused.

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Financial goals need budgets, as it enables you to manage your finances. Set a budget on your variables and fixed expenses. Review your budget regularly to identify problem areas. When you encounter challenges, try not to get discouraged and adjust as often as needed to ensure financial success.

Embrace your differences

The most important money move you can make for your relationship is to embrace your differences. Understand that you cannot change feelings created by a lifetime of experience; instead, try to nurture the positive aspects of each of your lifestyles. There is no one “right” way to handle your finances, so managing your money styles may be the perfect solution.

Here are 10 quick tips for planning together

  • Set priorities and specific goals and discuss them. Do not assume you both have the same goals without discussing them.
  • Discuss values. Sometimes different values make goal-setting difficult. An example is when one person wants to spend now and one wants to save for later, it can be a source of disagreement. The same is true when one spouse tends to be less risk-oriented than the other about investments.
  • Plan in five-year units. When planning for five-year blocks, you can set both intermediate and long-range goals without feeling you are being deprived forever.
  • Budget together. Set up a manageable system for your cash flow together.
  • Know where your money is going. Keep records of your spending.
  • Do not assume that because you are both working, that you have a lot more to spend.
  • Save regularly (emergency funds). Set up a savings account in both of your names and either set up an automatic transfer through your online bank app or take turns putting money into the account monthly.
  • Ensure you evaluate insurance. Getting insured is a vital part of adulthood, especially as a couple. Discuss the best insurance plan to go for.
  • Sit down together and discuss finances at least once a month.
  • Consider how many kids you want. This will help you come up with at least an early-stage financial plan.

Bottom Line

Some of the best marriage advice you can follow is to always be honest about your debts, income, and budgeting history. Marriage finances are a tricky topic, but it’s important that you discuss them regularly with your partner.

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