The coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which has become a global health hazard, has led to shut down of both government and private businesses. The movement restrictions placed by both federal and some state governors to curb the spread of the pandemic have affected a lot of economic activities.
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), in its response to the impact of the Coronavirus on its operations, has launched business continuity plan and measures to ensure the safety and well-being of taxpayers and other stakeholders.
Nigeria as a country has a low tax base and will most likely face an unprecedented revenue challenge due to the coronavirus pandemic. In order to cushion the effects, the tax agency introduced some measures, which are designed to relieve taxpayers of the burden of tax compliance at this time while also ensuring the safety of its staff, taxpayers and the general public.
These concessions are:
- Extension of time for filing VAT and withholding tax from the 21st of every month to the last working day of the month, preceding the month of deduction.
- The due date for filing company income tax returns has been extended by one month.
- Taxpayers will be allowed to file returns using unaudited accounts but must subsequently submit audited account within two months after the revised due date of filing.
Further updates on these should be expected as the situation develops.
Meanwhile, before the temporary suspension of movement, the Service had outlined some measures to reduce physical visits to the various tax offices and enhance operational efficiency.
The measures include:
- Extension of the filing deadline of some taxes. Taxpayers were encouraged to use available electronic platforms for filing tax returns, including withholding tax, transfer pricing, company income tax returns and so on electronically.
- The FIRS planned to publish information requests for desk reviews and tax audits on its website and create a portal where such information can be uploaded by taxpayers for online review by the service.