Tax tribunal begins hearing of 209 cases worth over N205bn

 The newly inaugurated Tax Appeal Tribunal on Tuesday began its sitting on tax related cases with a warning that it would not tolerate any delay tactics during adjudication of tax disputes.

The Tax Appeal Tribunal was established pursuant to Section 59 (I) and the Fifth Schedule of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act, 2007.

It was specifically set up to adjudicate on all disputes arising from operations of the Companies Income Tax Act, Petroleum Profit Tax Act, Capital Gains Tax Act, Stamp Duties Act, Value Added Tax, Taxes and Levies among others.

The tribunal, which was inaugurated by the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, on November 5, had about 209 cases that were pending at the various Tax Appeal Tribunals across the country.

The monetary value of 209 pending cases across the six geo-political zones of the Tax Appeal Tribunal are  $18.80bn, N205.65bn and €0.821m based on figures provided by the Ministry of Finance.

The tribunal is one of the windows provided in Nigeria’s tax administration system which offers an aggrieved party the opportunity to explore other dispute resolution mechanisms before gaining access to the regular law courts.

Among other things, it helps to reduce the caseload of the over-laden regular courts by providing less formal forum for quicker, cheaper and expert resolution of tax disputes in the public interest.

Speaking at the opening session of the sitting, the Chairman of the Abuja zone of the tribunal, Alice Iriogbe, warned those having tax disputes against adopting unnecessary delay strategies.

She said the Tribunal would discharge its duties in a manner that would ensure that the government did not collect more than what was due to it.

She said, “The last time the Tax Appeal Tribunal was held in this manner was in 2016. The tribunal had been on break until now and we want to assure you that the tribunal is composed of legal, tax and accounting experts.

“We shall do our best to ensure that justice is done to parties that deserve justice from this tribunal.

“The tribunal will ensure that government does not collect less than it ought to collect and also to ensure that tax payers do not have to pay more than it ought to pay.

“We are able, willing and very ready to cooperate with you to ensure that justice is done. But we shall not entertain unnecessary time wastage and we shall act promptly when needed to avoid asking for unnecessary adjournment.”

The chairman said in discharging its duties, the tribunal would encourage dialogue and settlements between parties as this would make payment of taxes easier.
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