FIRS directs Rivers state tax payers to Ignore Wike, asks them to continue to pay VAT to FIRS.


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The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has directed Rivers state taxpayers to ignore the directives of state government and continue to pay their Value Added Tax (VAT) to it to avoid paying penalties for failure to do so.

The directive was issued by Abdullahi Ahmad, Director, Communications and Liaison Department of the FIRS, gave the advice in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.

It would be recalled that the Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike emboldened by a court judgement of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt on Thursday, signed into law a bill which  authorized the state government to going forward collect

Besides VAT, the court had ruled that Rivers State Government, and not the agent of the Federal Government – FIRS– was authorised by the Nigerian Constitution to collect personal income tax in the state.

It may be too early to draw conclusion on the implications of this development, as FIRS has appealed the judgement.

But the FIRS official said the agency decided to issue the directive following numerous enquiries in the aftermath of the recent judgment.

The FIRS spokesperson explained that since the organisation had already appealed the judgment, in which it sought a stay of execution order and that the status quo ante should subsist on VAT collection.

He said taxpayers should continue to pay their VAT to the FIRS.

“The attention of the FIRS has been drawn to the trending report that on 19/08/2021, the Government of Rivers State took steps to enact a Value Added Tax Law for Rivers State following the Judgment of the Federal High Court Port Harcourt Division on August 9, 2021 in Suit No: CS/149/2020.

“The suit was about who has the constitutional duty for the collection of VAT and Personal income tax in Rivers State.

“We wish to inform the general public that before the above-mentioned steps taken by the Government of Rivers State, FIRS had lodged an appeal against the above judgment and had also filed an application for stay of execution of the judgment as well asking the court for an injunction pending the determination of the appeal.

“Given that the Court of Appeal is yet to rule on the Appeal from the Judgment of Federal High Court and that the Federal High Court is yet to deliver a ruling on FIRS’s applications for stay of execution and injunction” he explained.

Mr Ahmad urged the public to continue to comply with their VAT obligations “until the matter is resolved by the appellate court.”

(NAN)

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