TAX PLANNING GUIDE 2020
By Abimbola Salami
Tax is a compulsory contribution to revenue agencies which is levied by the government on workers income and businesses, profits or added to the cost of some goods, services and transactions. Tax is a compulsory financial charge or some other type of levy imposed upon a tax payer which might be an individual or an entity by a governmental organization in other to fund various public expenditures and failure to pay, evasion or resistance to tax is punishable under the law. In a simple word tax is the amount people have to pay to the government and this money is used to pay people who work for the government, provide services to the people and also used for infrastructural facilities. 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 include Companies Income Tax, Value Added Tax, Education Tax, and so on.
State taxes include Personal Income Tax, Business Premises Tax, Development levy, and so on.
Just in case, 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 endeavors.
Company’s 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 and 20% for Small Companies. This tax is remitted to the Federal Inland Revenue Service, and it is payable on a preceding year basis, Companies income tax includes measures concerning the taxation of non-resident companies. Section 9 of the Companies income tax Act (CITA) was amended to check for double or multiple taxation, also to charge taxes on collaterals. The requirement for Tax Identification Number (TIN) for companies is made mandatory under the new section 10 of the CITA. Tax Identification Number (TIN) is also made mandatory for opening of bank accounts and the operation of existing ones by account holders.
Section 16 of the CITA was further amended by the addition of a new subsection which defines what an “investment income” is for the purposes of taxation of life insurance companies. Section 19 of the CITA, excess dividend is exempted from further tax. Section 23 exempted franked investment incomes from tax liabilities under CITA. The Act also increased the monetary penalty for late filing of tax returns. The CITA also categorized companies by their annual gross turn over or income for the purposes of corporate tax liability such that companies with annual gross turn-over of 25 million or less are categorized as small companies and are exempted from tax liability. A medium-sized company is defined as a company having an annual gross turnover of over N25, 000,000.00 (Twenty Five Million Naira) per annum but below N100, 000, 000.00 (One Hundred Million Naira). Such Companies shall pay Income Tax at the rate of 20% while companies other than small or medium sized companies are defined as large companies and their income tax rate is stated to be 30%.
Petroleum Profits Tax Act.
Companies in the oil and gas field do not pay Company Income Tax instead they pay Petroleum Profit Tax which is charged at 85% of the chargeable income. Petroleum profits tax, including repeal of a tax exemption for dividends paid from after-tax profits. The new Act deletes section 60 of the PPTA. This is the section that gives tax exemption from dividends or incomes paid out of profits made after tax deductions made under the Petroleum Profits Tax Act. The effect of the revocation of the said section 60 appears to be that such incomes or dividends shall henceforth be subjected to tax liability.
It is a tax imposed on the supply of goods and services, this is a tax payable by the consumer at 7.5%, Value added tax (VAT), including an increase in the VAT rate to 7.5% (from 5%). All registered businesses are expected to register and have a VAT registration certificate, with their Value-added tax (VAT) registration numbers boldly displayed on all invoices. Although companies do not pay Value-added tax (VAT), they are mandated by the government to collect Value-added tax (VAT) from consumers, then remit to the relevant tax body. Basically, the business is an agent of the government for the purposes of collecting Value-added tax (VAT). A failure to include Value-added tax (VAT), or declare it is an offence that attracts serious fines and severe punishments. Section 19 increased the penalty payable by a taxable person for non-remittance within the specified period from 5% to 10%. Under section 28, the penalty for failure to give notice of change of address or permanent cessation of business was increased from ₦5,000 to ₦50,000 in the first month and ₦25,000 in subsequent months. There is a new section 8 of the VAT Act to cater for the registration of a taxable person upon commencement of business. The penalty for failure to register has been increased from ₦10,000 to ₦50,000 in the first month and from ₦5,000 to ₦ 25,000 in the subsequent months.
Value-added tax (VAT) filing is monthly, and always due on the 21st day of the subsequent month. There are goods exempted from Value-added tax (VAT) some examples are educational materials like books, medical and pharmaceutical products, newspapers and magazines, agricultural equipment and products, veterinary medicine, etc. The new section 15 of VAT introduces a threshold for VAT compliance. Thus companies with turnover of N25, 000, 000. 00 or more shall render their tax on or before the 21st of every month.
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. The section 49 of the PITA has been amended to make the provision of Tax Identification Number mandatory for persons intending to open a new bank account for purposes of business operations or for continuation of operation of such bank account. In order words, the mandatory requirement for tax identification number is for accounts being operated for purposes of business transactions.
The rate of calculating personal income tax;
- First ₦300,000 of income @7%,
- Next ₦300,000 of income @ 11%,
- Next ₦500,000 of income @ 15%,
- Next ₦500,000 of income @19%,
- Next ₦1,600,000 of income @ 21%,
- Above ₦3,200,000 of income @ 24%.
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. Withholding Tax rates are usually between 5-10%, depending on the type of transaction. The collecting authority for this tax is the FIRS or State Inland Revenue Service.
If the amount payable by the purchaser is ₦3,000,000 and the relevant tax rate is 10%, then upon payment the purchaser will deduct ₦300,000 from the invoice of the supplier, then remit to the relevant tax authority.
Pay As You Earn (P.A.Y.E).
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 Pay as You Earn (PAYE) becomes applicable to a business or company with four (4) or more employees.
Transfer pricing (TP) describes the form of inter-company pricing methods between two or more related economic entities with respect to intra-group supply of goods, services, finance, intellectual property, etc. Transfer pricing arrangement can be carried out between two or more related organizations located in different countries (international transfer pricing) or between two (2) or more organizations carrying on business within a country. Transfer pricing is regulated by the Income Tax (Transfer Pricing) Regulations made pursuant to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act, 2007. The objective of the TP Regulations, amongst others, is to ensure that associated/related enterprises and companies pay tax on an appropriate taxable basis corresponding to the economic activities deployed by taxable persons in Nigeria. It aims to ensure that the prices at which related entities exchange goods and services is in conformity with the functions performed, the asset used and the risk assumed in generating the income to be taxed.
The transactions to which TP adjustments apply are as follows:
- Sale and purchase of goods and services.
- Sale, purchase or lease of intangible assets.
- Transfer, purchase, license or use of intangible asset (intellectual property).
- Provision of services.
- Lending or borrowing of money.
- Manufacturing agreement and,
- Any transaction which may affect profit and loss or any other matter incidental to, connected with or pertaining to the above listed transactions.
In evaluating a taxpayer’s controlled transaction or series of transactions, the FIRS normally adopts one of the following methods in line with Section 5 (1) of the Regulation:
- The Comparable Uncontrolled Price (CUP): The price charged for a good, property or service transferred in a controlled transaction or in transaction between related entities relative to the price charged for property or services transferred in a comparable uncontrolled transaction in analogous circumstances.
- The Resale Price Method (RPM): The RPM analyses the price of a product that a related company or an associated enterprise charges an unrelated customer i.e., the resale price, to determine whether the profit realized is based on the function it performs and the risks assumed.
- The Cost plus Method (CPM): This method evaluates the arm’s length nature of an inter-company charge by comparing the gross profit mark-up earned by a party to an uncontrolled transaction to the gross profit earned by associated companies carrying on a similar transaction.
- The Transactional Net Margin Method (TNMM): TNMM compares the net profit margin that a particular controlled entity earns to the same net profit margins earned by an entity in comparable uncontrolled transaction or by independent comparable companies.
- The Transactional Profit Split Method (TPSM): The TPSM is applied when two related entities in a controlled transaction contribute significant intangible property. This method seeks to eliminate the effects of special conditions imposed in a controlled transaction by determining the division of profits which independent unrelated enterprises would have expected to realize from engaging in a similar transaction or transactions.
As contained in the TP Regulations, a company is required to declare its relationship with all connected or related entities not later than eighteen (18) months from the date of incorporation or within six (6) months after the end of the accounting year. The Regulation further stipulates that a company is to make disclosure of all controlled transactions that are subject to the Regulations without notice or demand. Failure to comply with the disclosure requirements within the prescribed period attracts payment of penalty by the defaulting company to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
Transfer Duty or Stamp Duty.
Stamp Duty is chargeable according to a scale fixed by the Joint Tax Board it 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. The state government 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.
The new proposed finance bill disclosed that the ₦50 stamp duty charge would now be levied on electronic payments above ₦10,000 as against payment above ₦1,000. The finance bill is a plan by the Federal Government to revamp tax administration in the country by introducing various tax increment. Though, the new bill exempts bank transfers between two accounts owned by the same person or organization from stamp duty charges. The bill repeals a provision of the Stamp Duty Act 2014 which holds the threshold for receipts chargeable with stamp duty as N4 and above. In recent developments, some merchants had upgraded their POS machines to automatically charge ₦50 for transactions above ₦,1000 to avoid the occasional backlash that comes with seeking customers’ consents before adding the charge manually during POS payments. The new ₦10,000 limit would have some of the following consequences;
- The increased limit would improve POS usage and prevent a total boycott of POS by small businesses/retailers.
- The new limit might assist the government put a balance in its quest to make the economy cashless and improve tax revenue.
- This might also reduce the number of customers requesting to pay in cash, shifting the tax burden to large and heavy shoppers.
Under the Stamp Duty Act, stamp duty is payable on any agreement executed in Nigeria or relating, whatsoever, to any property situated in or to any matter or thing done in Nigeria. Instruments that are required to be stamped under the Stamp Duties Act must be stamped within 40 days of first execution. Stamp duty is chargeable either at fixed rates or ad valorem (i.e. in proportion to the value of the consideration), depending on the class of instrument. Stamp duty is imposed at the rate of 0.75% on the authorized share capital at incorporation of a company or on registration of new shares. All deposit banks and financial institutions are required to charge stamp duties of ₦50 on every eligible transaction above ₦10,000. There are exemptions for transactions between accounts held by the same bank customer and for salary accounts.
Customs duties in Nigeria are levied only on imports. Rates vary for different items, typically from 5% to 35%, and are assessed with reference to the prevailing Harmonized Commodity and Coding System (HS code).
Excise duty is applicable on beer and stout, wines, spirits, cigarettes, and homogenized tobacco manufactured in or imported into Nigeria at 20%. Excise duties on tobacco and alcoholic beverages has increased effective 4 June 2018. The new regime applies only to tobacco and its products (such as cigarettes) and alcoholic beverages (beers and stouts, spirits, and wines).
In the case of Tobacco for 2018, in addition to the 20% Ad Valorem rate, a specific rate of #1 will be paid on each cigarette stick. In 2019, the specific rate will increase to ₦2 per stick and in 2020, the specific rate will increase to ₦2.90k per stick.
In the case of alcoholic beverages, for 2019, no ad valorem rate is applicable. In 2018, ₦0.30k per centiliter (cl) is payable on beer and stout. In 2019 and 2020, ₦0.35k per cl will be payable. In the case of wines, in 2018, ₦1.25k per cl is payable on wines. In 2019 and 2020, ₦1.50k per cl will be payable.
In the case of Spirits, in 2018, ₦1.50k per cl is payable on spirits. In 2019, ₦1.75k per cl will be payable. In 2020, ₦2.00k per cl will be payable.
Excise duty will not apply on imported excisable goods not produced in Nigeria and imported raw materials not available in Nigeria.
Property taxes in Nigeria are usually levied annually by the state government with varying rates depending on the state and the location of the property within the state. The two major property taxes are governor’s consent fee and land registration fee. In Lagos (which is the economic hub of Nigeria), governor’s consent fee, land registration fees, and other levies payable to the state give rise to a total levy of 3% of the fair value of the land. Also, Right of Occupancy fee and tenement rates are chargeable by state and local government authorities.
Capital gains tax (CGT).
Gains accruing to a chargeable person (individual or company) on the disposal of chargeable assets shall be subject to tax under the Capital gains tax (CGT) Act at the rate of 10%. There is no distinction between long-term and short-term gains and no inflation adjustment to cost for Capital gains tax (CGT) purposes. All forms of assets, including options, debts, goodwill, and foreign currency, other than those specifically exempt, are liable for Capital gains tax (CGT). The gains on the disposal of shares are exempt from Capital gains tax (CGT). Capital gains tax (CGT) is applicable on the chargeable gains received or brought into Nigeria in respect of assets situated outside Nigeria. Capital losses are not allowed as an offset against chargeable gains accruing to a person from the disposal of any assets.
Under the Employee Compensation Act, all employers were required to contribute 1% of their payroll cost in the first two years of commencement of the Act (2010 to 2012). Subsequently, assessments were expected to be issued by the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, the body empowered to administer and implement the Act. In practice, a contribution of 1% of payroll continues to apply.
Employers with at least 15 employees are required to participate in a contributory pension scheme for their employees. The minimum contribution is 18% of monthly emolument (with a minimum contribution of 10% by the employer and 8% by the employee). If the employer decides to bear all the contribution, the minimum contribution is 20% of monthly emolument. Mandatory and/or voluntary contributions by the employers are deductible for CIT purposes.
National Housing Fund (NHF) Contributions.
NHF contributions are applicable to Nigerian employees earning a minimum of ₦3,000 per annum. The employer is required to deduct 2.5% of basic salary from employees earning more than ₦3,000 per annum and remit it to the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria within one month of deduction.
Information Technology Levy.
A company with an annual turnover of ₦100 million or more is required to pay 1% of its profit before CIT as information technology tax. This levy is deductible for CIT purposes when paid (typically in the year of assessment following that in which the payment was made). This tax is applicable to:
- Banking and other financial activities, including capital and money market operators, mortgage institutions, and micro-finance banks.
- Insurance activities, including brokerage.
- Pension fund administration, pension management, and related services.
- GSM service providers and telecommunication companies.
- Cyber and internet services providers.
- Levy on contracts awarded in the upstream oil and gas sector.
The Nigerian Content Development Act was introduced to increase the level of Nigerian participation in the oil and gas industry. The Act imposes a levy of 1% on every contract awarded in the upstream oil and gas sector of the economy. Any violation of the Act is liable for a fine of 5% of the contract value and may result in outright cancellation of the contract.
The tax authority (FIRS) issued notices of assessment for additional income tax liabilities, inclusive of interest and penalty, to the taxpayer after a desk review of the taxpayer’s financial records for 2011 to 2016. The FIRS based its assessment on Section 19 of the corporate income tax law because the Appellant distributed dividends to its parent company in excess of its total profits. Section 19 treats dividends distributed as a company’s total profits in any year of assessment when the company has no total profits or when its total profits are less than the amount of dividend paid. You need to know that;
- Section 19 does not concern itself with the source or origin of the dividend paid. Rather, Section 19 is applicable once the dividend declared and paid is greater than total profits.
- Executive orders, in the nature of the exemption order, are inferior to corporate income tax law. Therefore, its provisions cannot override or supersede the provisions of the tax law, including Section 19.
- The tax liabilities had become final and conclusive due to the taxpayer’s failure to file an objection notice to the FIRS within the statutory timeline.
- The taxpayer is eligible to seek amnesty under a provision of the voluntary declaration program that the FIRS prematurely denied to the taxpayer. Therefore, the taxpayer is not liable to interest and penalty on the outstanding tax liabilities.
A non-resident corporation or individual is liable to tax only on the profit or income deemed to be derived from Nigeria.
A non-resident individual is a person who is not domiciled in Nigeria or who stays in Nigeria for less than 183 days but derives income or profits from Nigeria.
A non-resident individual becomes liable to tax from the day he commences to carry on a trade, business, vocation, or profession in Nigeria. However, he is liable to tax in respect of employment income when he becomes resident. Non-resident companies doing business in Nigeria prepare and pay their income taxes using the deemed profit basis.
A non-resident corporation is a company or corporation that is not registered or incorporated in Nigeria but which derives income or profits from Nigeria. It is to be mentioned here, for the sake of emphasis, that exemption from incorporation does not confer exemption from payment of tax on any company.
Every company, resident and non-resident, is liable to tax in Nigeria if its income is liable to tax under the provisions of the Companies Incomes Tax Act. It is also to be pointed out that the Nigerian tax laws do not exempt the income of a branch from tax. When filing returns under the deemed profit regime, the non-resident only needed to submit the deemed profit tax calculations accompanied with a statement of the turnover derived from Nigeria. A schedule of withholding tax suffered on the income is usually provided to support the claim for tax credit.
Turnover basis of assessment.
This is an alternative to the normal basis of assessment to tax, based on the profit as per the financial statement submitted as part of the taxpayer’s annual returns. Under this basis, the turnover, which is often apparent, is used to ascertain the assessable profit by applying a reasonable percentage on it. The amendments to the tax laws have modified the mode of application of the turnover tax to a trade or business carried on in whole or in part in Nigeria when the following conditions exist;
- The trade/business has produced no assessable profits; or
- The assessable profits produced appear less than might be expected to arise from such a trade or business; or
- The true amount of the assessable profits of the company cannot be readily ascertained.
The same tax treatment applies to both residents and non-resident when the above conditions prevail. The implications of this treatment particularly to the nonresidents are stated below;
- For a non-resident company or individual with a fixed base in Nigeria, the turnover that can be assessed and charged is only that portion that is attributable to the fixed base. In other words, it will be wrong to base the percentage considered “fair and reasonable” on the total turnover of such a company or individual once a fixed base is established. This means that the first step is to establish the fixed base. The second step is the determination of the turnover attributable to the operations carried on through the fixed base. The final step is to determine the percentage of that turnover considered fair and reasonable.
- where the non-resident company or individual operated in Nigeria through a dependent agent who:
- Regularly concludes contracts or makes sales on behalf of the principal; or
- Has authority to conclude the contract on behalf of the principal or another associated enterprise; or in the case of an individual, another person related to him.
The turnover to be adopted will be the turnover of the trade or business carried on through the dependent agent.
- For a turnkey project, the assessment is to be based on a “fair and reasonable” percentage of the whole turnover of the project.
- Where the trade or business is between a principal and a subsidiary or between related individuals and the transactions are not at arm’s length, the turnover attributable to each party is to be determined by the Service based on the terms of the contract agreement, P.E. and arm’s length considerations (using Nigerian transfer pricing rules).
The establishment of the committee for fringe benefits became necessary because over the years because the cost of governance has continued to escalate arising mostly from the burden of providing basic amenities to public servants by the government, these amenities include residential accommodation, transport facilities, medical services, and utilities such as electricity, water and telephone. Some benefits enjoyed by public servants have already been fully or partially monetized, these include leave grant entertainment and allowance; other benefits that are to be monetized under the programme are residential accommodation, provision of vehicles, fuelling/maintenance of vehicles, provision of drivers and medical treatment.
A treaty is a formal, written agreement between sovereign states or between states and international organizations. Tax treaties are enacted to mitigate double taxation problems that occur where the “resident country” has domestic tax laws that seek to tax foreign income that is liable to tax in the “source country”. The objectives of tax treaties include- prevention of double taxation; combating tax evasion and double non-taxation; assignment of primary taxing right to one country; and creation of reciprocal assistance in administering and enforcing tax laws between countries. These objectives ensure that both countries benefit from the resultant increase in trade and investment. The type of tax treaty within the purview of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and domiciled in the Tax Policy and Legislation Department is the Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement (ADTA). Tabular Presentation of List of Countries having ADTA with Nigeria is as follows:
Double Taxation Treaty.
Based on international trade convention, every country is allowed to adopt laws, rules and regulations that govern its trade relationships with other countries in a way that enables it achieve the desired strategic objectives. One key aspect of such trade laws is the taxation regulations, which govern how the income derived from the different countries is subjected to tax. This creates the need for international agreements or treaties to set out terms on which residents of different countries can conduct trade with one another with minimal conflict and reduce the incidence of double taxation on their income.
Under the Treaties (Making Procedure, Etc.) Act1 (TMPA), treaties are defined as instruments whereby an obligation under international law is undertaken between the Federation and any other country and includes “conventions”, “act”, “general acts” “protocols”, “agreements” and “modi-vivendi”, whether they are bilateral or multi-lateral in nature. Therefore, a treaty is a contract between sovereign states which may be bilateral; where it is binding between two states, or multilateral; in which case it is binding on more than two states. Double Tax Treaties (DTTs) or Double Tax Agreement (DTAs) determine, among other things, how such income should be taxed for the benefit of both countries. In order to fairly examine treaties and their enactment process in Nigeria, the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) (CFRN); the TMPA; and Companies Income Tax Act 2007 (CITA) must be considered.
Tax Credits and Incentives.
Nigeria has various tax incentives intended to encourage investment in key sectors of the economy, and they are as follows;
Agriculture sector in Nigeria enjoys Pioneer Status with attendant tax exemption to all companies operating in this sector. There are different incentives available to those operating in the agricultural sector and they include the following;
- All agricultural and agro-industrial machines and equipment enjoy zero percent (0%) duty.
- Companies in the agro-allied business do not have their capital allowance restricted. It is granted in full i.e. 100%.
- Agribusiness is tax free. The payments of minimum tax by companies that make small or no profits at all do not apply to agro-allied business.
- Agro-allied plant and equipment enjoy enhanced capital allowances of up to 50%.
- Processing of agricultural produce is a pioneer industry; consequently, there is 100% tax-free period for 5 years or projects into processing of agricultural produce.
- Tax relief for Research & Development: Agro-allied industries that attained minimum levels of local materials sourcing & utilization enjoy tax credit.
- Up to 75% guarantee for all loans granted by commercial banks for agricultural production and processing under the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (ACGSF) administered by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
- Interest Drawback Program Fund:
- 60% repayment of interest paid by those who borrow from banks under the ACGS, for the purpose of cassava production and processing provided such borrowers repay their loans on schedule.
- Expatriate quota and resident permits in respect of expatriate personnel engaged by agro-allied companies.
- Corporate tax incentives rebate of 12% shall be enjoyed by Bakers on attainment of 40% cassava blend within a period of 18 months.
- Personal remittance quota for expatriate personnel, free from any tax imposed by any enactment for the transfer of external currency out of Nigeria.
- The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission Act allows 100% ownership of companies by foreigners, while the Foreign Exchange Miscellaneous Act, guarantees 100% Repatriation of Capital, Profit, & Dividends through authorized means.
The Basic incentives enjoyed in the Agricultural sector are;
- Trade Liberalization Scheme (TLS) of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is an export liberalization incentive that focuses on the ECOWAS sub-region. The Scheme is an incentive primarily geared towards export activities within the ECOWAS sub-region. The objective is to significantly expand the volume of intra-community trade in the sub-region via the removal of both tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade in goods originating from ECOWAS countries.
- LIBERALIZATION OF COMPANY OWNERSHIP STRUCTURE
The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission Act has liberalized the ownership structure of businesses in Nigeria. The implication of this is that foreigners can own 100% shares in any company without having Nigerian shareholders.
- REPATRIATION OF PROFITS
Under the provisions of the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring & Miscellaneous Provision Act No. 17 of 1995), foreign investors are free to repatriate all their profits and dividends net of taxes through an authorized dealer in freely convertible currency.
- GUARANTEES AGAINST EXPROPRIATION
The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission Act Cap. N117 Laws of the Federation 2004 guarantees the non-nationalization or expropriation of any enterprise or foreign-owned investment by any government in Nigeria.
- INCENTIVES FOR SPECIAL INVESTMENT
For the purpose of promoting identified strategic or major investment, the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission shall, in consultation with appropriate Government agencies, negotiate specific incentive packages for the promotion of investment as the Commission may specify.
- INVESTMENT PROMOTION AND PROTECTION AGREEMENT (IPPA)
As part of additional effort to foster foreign investors’ confidence in the Nigeria economy, Government continues to enter into bilateral investment promotion and protection agreements (IPPAs) with countries that do business with Nigeria.
The IPPA helps to guarantee the safety of the investment of the contracting parties in the event of war, revolution, expropriation or nationalization. It also guarantees investors the transfer of interests, dividends, profits and other incomes as well as compensation for dispossession or loss.
- MINIMUM LOCAL RAW MATERIALS UTILIZATION
A tax credit of 20% is granted for five years to industries that attain the minimum level of local raw material sourcing and utilization. The minimum levels of local raw materials sourcing and utilization in the Agro-allied sector is seventy (70) percent.
- IN-PLANT TRAINING
This is applicable to industrial establishments that have set up in-plant training facilities. Such industries enjoy a two (2) percent tax concession for a period of five (5) years.
- INVESTMENT IN INFRASTRUCTURE
This is a form of incentive granted to industries that provide facilities that ordinarily, should have been provided by government. Such facilities include access roads, pipe borne water and electricity. Twenty percent (20%) of the cost of providing these infrastructural facilities, where they do not exist, is tax deductible.
- SPECIAL INTERVENTIONS
The Federal government has introduced various funding mechanism that will stimulate investments into the sector. The Nigerian Incentive-based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reduced the risk in banks’ lending for farmers and reduced the lending rate to farmers. Banks are lending to agriculture today more than ever before.
At the moment, agricultural sector contributes 47 per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and is responsible for 10 per cent of its export earnings.
Pioneer companies investing in specified industrial activities may, on application, be granted a tax holiday for three years initially, which may be extended for up to two years upon satisfaction of specified conditions. Examples of economic activities that may be granted a tax holiday include glass and glassware manufacturing, manufacturing of fertilizers, and steel manufacturing. A new company that engages in the mining of solid minerals is exempt from tax for the first three years of its operation.
Rural location incentives.
Certain incentives are available to companies located in rural areas. The incentives take the form of tax reductions at graduated rates for enterprises located at least 20 kilometers from available electricity, water, and tarred roads.
Agricultural production income tax exemption.
Companies carrying out agricultural production is exempt from income tax for a period of five (5) years. Upon satisfactory performance, the exemption can be extended for an additional three (3) years.
Export processing zones (EPZs) and free trade zones (FTZs) are locations within Nigeria designated by the government as free areas where export trade activities can be carried on free of tax and foreign exchange restrictions.
A company that is engaged in an approved manufacturing activity in an EPZ and incurs expenditures in its qualifying building and plant equipment is entitled to 100% capital allowance in that year of assessment.
A company that is 100% export oriented but located outside an EPZ will enjoy a three year tax holiday, provided the company is not formed by splitting up or reconstruction of an already existing business and the export proceeds from at least 75% of its turnover.
Profits of companies whose supplies are exclusively inputs to the manufacture of products for export are exempt from tax. Such companies are expected to obtain a certificate of purchase of the input from the exporter in order to claim tax exemption. Where plant and machinery are transferred to a new company, the tax written down value of the asset transferred must not exceed 25% of the total value of plant and machinery in the new company. The company should also repatriate at least 75% of the export earnings to Nigeria and place it in a Nigerian domiciliary account in order to qualify for a tax holiday.
Profits of any Nigerian company in respect of goods exported from Nigeria are exempt from tax, provided that the proceeds from such exports are repatriated to Nigeria and are used exclusively for the purchase of raw materials, plant, equipment, and spare parts. In order to streamline the administration of permissible taxes within the tax free zones, the Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority (OGFZA) has established the Free Zones Tax Administration (FZTA) Unit with effect from January 2015. Going forward, all tax matters relating to the free zones will be coordinated by the FZTA.
Export Expansion Grant (EEG) Scheme.
The EEG Scheme grants the Export Credit Certificate (ECC) as an incentive that can be used to settle all federal government taxes, such as VAT, WHT, CIT, etc. It can also be used to purchase government bonds and repay government credit facilities and debts due to the Assets Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON). To encourage export of value added and processed/manufactured products, exporters are divided into four categories with maximum applicable EEG rates as indicated below:
- Fully manufactured products: 15%.
- Semi-manufactured products: 10%.
- Processed/intermediate products: 7.5%.
- Merchants/primary agricultural commodities: 5%.
Gas Utilization Incentives.
Companies engaged in gas utilization are entitled to:
- A tax-free period for up to five years.
- Accelerated capital allowance after the tax-free period.
- Tax-free dividends during the tax-free period.
Twenty-five percent (25%) of the income derived from tourism by hotels in convertible currencies is exempt from tax if such income is put in a reserve fund to be utilized within five years for expansion or construction of new hotels and other facilities for tourism development.
Interest accruing on deposit accounts of a non-resident company is tax-exempt, provided the deposits are made by transfer of funds to Nigeria on or after 1 January 1990 and the depositor does not become non-resident after making the deposit while in Nigeria. Interest on foreign-currency domiciliary accounts is also tax-exempt.
Interest on any foreign loans, and interest on any loan granted by a bank for the purpose of manufacturing goods for export, is exempt from tax as follows;
|Repayment period||Moratorium||Exemption (%)|
|Over 7 years||Not less than 2 years||70|
|5 to 7 years||Not less than 1.5 years||40|
|2 to 4 years||Not less than 1 year||10|
Interest on any loan granted by a bank to a company engaged in agricultural trade, fabrication of local plant and machinery, or as working capital to any cottage industry is 100% tax free if the loan has a moratorium of not less than 18 months and the rate of interest is not more than the base lending rate.
An investment allowance of 10% on the cost of qualifying expenditures in respect of plant and machinery is available as a deduction from assessable profits in the year of purchase. There is no restriction to the full claim of capital allowance in any year of assessment for companies in the mining, manufacturing, and agricultural sectors.
Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme.
Participants in the Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Scheme are entitled to recover the cost incurred by them in the construction or refurbishment of eligible roads as credit against CIT payable. Participants are also entitled to a single uplift, equivalent to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Monetary Policy Rate plus 2% of the project cost. This uplift will not be taxable in the hand of the participant. The tax credit can be carried forward to subsequent years until it is fully utilized. A participant may sell or transfer its tax credit to other companies, as a form of security or otherwise.
Foreign Tax Credit.
Nigeria does not grant automatic tax credits to Nigerian companies for foreign tax on income derived from other countries. The Nigerian tax laws already provide for tax exemption for dividends, interest, and royalties. Foreign tax credits are only granted based on the provisions of existing DTTs and partial credits as applicable to Commonwealth countries. In this regard, full tax credits are usually provided for in the DTTs. Tax credits for members of Commonwealth countries are granted at up to half the Nigerian CIT rate.
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