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Taxes you should be aware of before starting a business in Nigeria

A key understanding of the tax regime, which operates in your area of operation, is quite important if you want to establish any business.



Taxes you should be aware of before starting a business in Nigeria

Tax liability is an important aspect of your business and compliance obligations. Therefore, a key understanding of the tax regime, which operates in your area of operation, is quite important.

Taxes in Nigeria are of two categories: federal taxes and state taxes. Federal taxes include Companies Income Tax, Value Added Tax, Education Tax, etc. State taxes, on the other hand, include Personal Income Tax, Business Premises Tax, Development levy, etc.

There is usually a Body of Appeal Commissioners that is a court of first instance to handle Tax appeal cases. There is also a Value Added Tax Tribunal. If you are just starting your business, you need to know the taxes you are subjected to paying and have a tax plan in place to help you make the most of your entrepreneurial endeavours.

Tips to help you launch your own business in 2020 (Part 1)

Companies income tax

This is a tax chargeable on all companies (other than companies engaged in petroleum operations) registered in Nigeria. It is an annual tax on the profits of registered companies, which profits must accrue in, be derived from, brought into, or received in Nigeria.

The rate of a company’s income tax is fixed at 30% of taxable income. This tax is remitted to the Federal Inland Revenue Service, and it is payable on a preceding year basis. Companies in the oil and gas field do not pay Company Income Tax; rather, they pay Petroleum Profit Tax which is charged at 85% of the chargeable income.

Value-added tax

Arguably the most popular tax in Nigeria, this is a tax payable by the consumer at 5%. It is a tax imposed on the supply of goods and services. All registered businesses are expected to register and have a VAT registration certificate, with their VAT registration numbers boldly displayed on all invoices. Although companies do not pay VAT, they are mandated by the government to collect VAT from consumers, then remit to the relevant tax body.

[READ MORE: Here are reasons your business should monitor its website)

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So in essence, the business is an agent of the government for the purposes of collecting VAT. A failure to include VAT, or declare it is an offence that attracts serious fines and severe punishments. VAT filing is monthly, and always due on the 21st day of the subsequent month.

There are however some goods that are exempted from VAT; some examples are educational materials like books, medical and pharmaceutical products, newspapers and magazines, agricultural equipment and products, veterinary medicine, etc.

Capital gains tax

This is a 10% tax imposed on Capital Gains (Profit) arising from a sale, exchange or other disposition of properties known as chargeable assets. Capital gains are the profits that an investor realizes when he or she sells the capital asset for a price that is higher than the purchase price. Capital gains taxes are only triggered when an asset is realized/sold. Emphasis on profit, not sale price.

Education tax

This fund is made available to the Federal government by the companies, and no, it is not a voluntary contribution.  All registered companies in Nigeria are required to pay a percentage of their assessable profit into an Education Tax Fund. The tax is charged at 2% of the assessable income.

Personal income tax

This tax is payable by all individuals and registered businesses and partnerships, except those registered under Part A of Companies and Allied Matters Act 1990 (incorporated companies). The State Inland Revenue Service administers the tax.

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This is the rate of calculating personal income tax; First N300,000 of income @7%Next N300,000 of income @ 11%Next N500,000 of income @ 15%Next N500,000 of income @19%Next N1,600,000 of income @ 21%Above N3, 200,000 of income @ 24%.

Withholding tax

This technically isn’t a tax. It is an advanced payment of income tax deducted at source of specific transactions. The recipient of the income is entitled to utilize the withheld tax credit note or receipt, against the final tax obligations. The main purpose is to capture as many tax payers that may have evaded tax into the tax net. WHT rates are usually between 5-10%, depending on the type of transaction. Also, the collecting authority for this tax is the FIRS or State Inland Revenue Service.

If, for example, the amount payable by the purchaser is N2million and the relevant tax rate is 10%, then upon payment the purchaser will deduct N200,000 from the invoice of the supplier, then remit to the relevant tax authority.

Hotel occupancy and restaurants consumption tax

If you intend to venture into businesses such as hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, fast food outlets, bars, and event centres, you should be aware of this tax. Such business is expected to pay 5% tax on goods and services consumed by customers in addition to a further 10% penalty on the latter unremitted tax and the interest charged.

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Pay As You Earn (P.A.Y.E)

This is a scheme by the Taxman to ensure that employees pay their taxes, and puts the duty on the employer to deduct the tax liability of the employees at source; thus, the employees are paid their net salaries. The employer on a monthly basis remits the tax to the State’s Internal Revenue Service, and a tax clearance for that month covers all employees of the company. The PAYE becomes applicable to a business or company with 4 or more employees.

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Stamp duty tax

Stamp Duty is chargeable according to a scale fixed by the Joint Tax Board. This is tax paid to the federal or state governments on documents such as conveyances on sale, bills of exchange, promissory notes, agreements, contracts, etc. The federal government has the sole authority to impose charge and collect stamp duties in respect of documents relating to matters between a company and an individual, group or body of individuals.

While, the state government, on the other hand, has authority to collect stamp duty in respect of documents executed between individuals or persons at such rates imposed or agreed with the federal government.

[READ ALSO: How to build up your investment knowledge)





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    In a hyperinflation economy like Nigeria’s, these are the best investments to consider immediately

    A deeper review of investments to consider amid the prevailing high inflation in Nigeria.



    Where to buy Real Estate in Lagos in 2021, Nigeria's Real Estate Sector recorded positive growth after three year low, Real estate: Declining credit reflects underlying weakness 

    Let’s face it, Nigeria’s rising inflation plus lower options for high yielding investments are already driving a significant number of investors away from Africa’s leading frontier market. This is coming at a time when Nigeria’s top performing investment asset class for 2020 is currently having a year-to-date return of around -3.30%.

    Recent data published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reveals Nigerian inflation rate surged to a 33-month high, as it rose further to 16.47% in January 2021 from 15.75% in December 2020. This is marks 17th consecutive month of rising inflation in the country.

    Consequently, Nairametrics interviewed selected financial experts on the investment options best suitable for such macro.

    That being said, it’s important to note that there are no guarantees when it comes to investing during high inflation. At best, such investments may be inflation-safe, but returns can never be guaranteed.

    READ: The Nigerian economy is increasingly dollarized but there is a way-out

    Debo Adejana, MD/CEO, Realty Point Limited, Chairman, REDAN South West Zone.

    At 16.5% inflation rate as of January 2021, the obvious is that there are very little short-term investments that can outperform that especially in the short term. So, that being said, my traditional conservative disposition of the fact that the best investment term is the long-term.

    To make returns that will consistently be higher than 16.5% in short term investments will require very good knowledge of the asset class and share dedication.

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    If that is clear, then by my own understanding, the following are some of the possible investment areas or strategies to adopt with real estate being my most preferred asset class anytime:

    1. Financial player in a JV Property Development Scheme. This helps to save time and gives faster turnover of investment fund.
    2. Buying distressed property now, renovate, rent-out for 2years of more just to hold if necessary and sell after.
    3. Crowd owning/funding property deals
    4. Guaranteed rent discounting
    5. International property investment for positive cash flow and to enjoy foreign exchange appreciation

    All the above can be done as a large ticket investor or little fractional holder using a well-structured and regulated vehicle.

    READ: Real estate sector GDP positive in Q4 2020, but still in the woods

    Darlington-Morsi Onyemaka, Co-founder, Quba Exchange

    Inflation means that prices for things are rising, and as such the same amount of money buys less over a certain period of time. This in itself is especially not good for cash savings as the best way to manage inflation is by investing in instruments that give you a return higher than the current rate of inflation or at least one that keeps up with it.

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    The best kinds of assets to invest in during inflation are tangible assets that have fundamental values and as such, their worth measures up together with inflation. These assets include real estate, growth stocks, and commodities like food, crude oil, and gold (especially gold).

    On the flip side, one should avoid long-term fixed-income investments. This is because the value of the underlying security falls as investors tend to focus on higher-yielding alternatives when the interest rates of that instrument start rising.

    READ: FG says Finance Bill 2020 will check inflation

    Thelma Ugonna Ohiri-Anyanwu, CFA

    Inflation is the increase in prices of goods over a period of time, where a specific amount of currency will be able to buy less than before.

    In as much as inflation erodes the value of funds, this should not deter one from investing as some investment’s types are great hedge against inflation and helps to preserve capital. Some of such investments are Gold, REITs, real estate, commodities and a well-balanced stock portfolio.

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    Silas OZOYA, Founder/CEO SUBA Capital

    Inflation in many ways affect the general health of a countries economy and her citizens literally and the only way out of inflation is continuous and increased investments in local production, expansion of existing local businesses and enacting fiscal policies that would strengthen the currency of such country.

    To mitigate this, increased and persistent investment from all angles in Agriculture, local processing, and increased export would do a positive dent on our inflation rate and keep us far away from recession through job creation, wealth growth, food, and cash crop production at scale.

    Nigerian’s home and abroad should consider investments that support economic growth through investments in Agriculture and agro-allied ventures.


    Agriculture from my experience is one of the very few sectors that puts food on the table, employs people, and grows the value of your money against inflation all in one value chain.

    The general public, high net worth individuals, and Nigerians abroad should consider holding at least 20% of their asset portfolio in Agriculture and agro-allied investments.

    Angela Aya, Head, Institutional Sales at Alonati

    There are a lot of investment opportunities for both the wealthy and not so rich investors in Nigeria, investors desiring to get an income or return on investment. Some are the FGN Savings Bonds, Stocks, Real Estate, Gold, Cryptocurrency, Agriculture etc. However, below are some investments that offer inflation protection:

    Real Estate

    Investment in real estate has been profitable and remains lucrative especially in Nigerian urban cities.

    This investment however requires medium to high capital. Nigeria is still a developing Country in the world and the need for housing to match the Country’s increasing population size remains critical, as urban-rural migration continues to increase due to the neglect of development of the rural areas by the States and Federal Government.

    The value of land and property has continued to rise and will continue to appreciate due to the margin between demand and supply as the need for residential and commercial buildings in major cities remains high.


    Investing in gold has remained an agelong golden income space. The value of gold has continued to appreciate over the years because of the importance attached to it all around the world.

    Gold remains an important symbol of wealth and affluence, and can be purchased as bars, coins or jewelries and resold at a higher price over time.

    Bottom line

    A disciplined investor can hedge against inflation risks by investing in the following asset classes that often outperform during high inflationary climates.

    • Debo Adejina – Real Estate,
    • Darlington-Morsi Onyemaka – real estate, growth stocks, and commodities like food, crude oil, and gold (especially gold).
    • Thelma Ugonna Ohiri-Anyanwu, CFA – Gold, REITs, real estate, commodities and a well-balanced stock portfolio.
    • Silas OZOYA – Agriculture and agro-allied ventures.
    • Angela Aya – Real Estate & Gold.

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    Investment Tips

    Retail franchise investment next gold mine for Nigerian investors- CIG

    Retail franchise investment curbs unemployment  and create buffer for people looking for side hustle



    The Choice International Group (CIG) has tasked both unemployed and employed Nigerians to embrace retail franchise investment, as the initiative would curb unemployment in the nation  and create buffer for people looking for side hustle.

    In line with a recent FBDS Study, there are over 450,000 Nigerian career professionals with minimum investible funds of N1 million, looking out for investment opportunities.

    In the majority, these funds are looking for franchise type opportunities for ease of venturing and minimal failure risk.

    As far as CIG chairperson, Diana Chen, is concerned, such investor should look no further but consider the group’s retail franchise investment opportunity, which offers Nigerian community mouth-watering offer of owning Gree & Lontor retail stores.

    According to him, Gree is the world’s residential air-conditioner manufacturer, while Lontor provides high-quality, energy-saving and convenient rechargeable home appliances and lighting products for global consumers.

    He said, “Both brands have been built by the CIG into a world-class electronic retail chain in Nigeria opening no less than 20 brand shops in Lagos and Oyo over the last 18 months.

    “The sales performance of its existing stores in the country makes Gree & Lontor one of the most profitable businesses in Nigeria with yields of an average return on investment of 50% and above per annum.

    “CIG is offering investors the opportunity to own any of six regional logistics centres, or any number of Gree & Lontor brand shops in viable locations across Nigeria.

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    “It is the decision of the company to open up these opportunities to the investing public through a Franchise Retail partnership.”


    He added that the company has mapped out two investment models it says are simple, transparent, and hassle-free.

    “The first model involves only six regional logistics centres located across the geopolitical zones in Nigeria.

    “Whoever invests in this will require a capital outlay of $1 million, and become a mega distributor partner of the Gree & Lontor brand, and service a network of brand shops.

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    “The second investment model involves the Gree & Lontor brand shops – retail franchise stores that require an initial capital outlay of N20 million.

    “The investor will secure a store size of 120-150sqm at any choice location, shopping mall, plazas, high streets and even residential neighbourhoods.”

    What they are saying

    Nigeria is a growth market for franchising and franchise development services.

    Gbenga Ajayi, an Entrepreneurship analyst, said, “The retail industry comes second to the food industry among sectors with best franchising opportunities.

    “As with other emerging markets, one of the challenges of franchising in Nigeria remains the strengthening of intellectual-property regimes so that franchise companies can transmit knowledge and franchise system concepts with the confidence that such know-how will be protected.

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