My Tax Story 2
1.Was taxation a conscious career choice for you or did it ‘call’ you?
Career Choice- Taxation was not a conscious first choice for me. However, I was lucky to start my career in the then Arthur Andersen and was recruited into the Tax Division and the rest is history.
2. What challenges did you face on your career path?
I started my career in tax almost 28years ago and I can say I have enjoyed my career to the last bit and had no challenge workwise. However, outside of me, I have pursued two major issues with tax authorities and arbitral panels and have not been able to convince them even though I believe I’m right. One is the application of Section 19 of CITA (provisions on Excess Dividend Tax) to dividends paid out of retained earnings which in my view had already suffered tax and should no longer be taxed. The other issue is the application of Section 4 of the Deep Offshore Act on who is entitled to enjoy Investment Tax Credits (ITC) in a Production Sharing Contract arrangement. I believe that based on the provisions of the respective PSCs, it is only the person who incurred the Qualifying Capital Expenditure i.e. NNPC that should enjoy ITC as provided under the law. But arbitral panels have not shared my view.
3. Are they over now or are there still challenges?
The challenges are still continuing and I will keep pushing.
4. In the era of seeming specialization, what advice do you have for people looking towards starting a career in taxation?
Taxation is the future of the Nigerian economy. As the world becomes more connected, economically, a career in tax is a viable route to a better future, in my view.
5. What is your definition of a tax expert or someone well rounded in tax? Does this take a defined number of years or it depends on circumstances?
A tax expert is not a function of years, it is a function of how well rounded the practitioner is. But most often than not, this is also linked to years of experience.
6. What has been your wildest/ craziest experience as a tax practitioner?
Wildest experience is seeing lawyers drafting a perfectly excellent commercial contract that would be dead on arrival when you consider the tax implications. It happened many times in the past the best example was a multi-billion dollar gas project in 2004.
7. If there was anything in the tax space you wish you did, or didn’t do, what would it be?
I wish I could give more training to others who may be interested in tax.
Olaleye is the Country Managing Partner of Andersen Tax in Nigeria. He is a renowned tax expert with about 30 years’ experience in tax planning, mergers and acquisitions, advisory, and compliance transactions. He has worked closely with various tax authorities in Nigeria.
Olaleye’s practice started from Arthur Andersen in 1991, where he rose to the position of Group Head in 2002. In the wake of the Arthur Andersen global collapse, he joined the firm of Aluko & Oyebode as the Partner and Head of the Tax and Business Regulatory Services Unit. He left Aluko & Oyebode in 2005 to set up WTS Adebiyi and Associates before joining Andersen Tax in 2017. He is the current Chairman of the Taxation Committee of the Section of Business Law of the Nigerian Bar Association.