MY TAX STORY 1
- What is your tax story?
I initially graduated with a Sociology and Economics degree for my undergraduate studies. I then converted to law – specializing in entertainment/media/technology related areas of law (as I was also an aspiring music producer at the time). I subsequently decided that to leave the creative side of music and focus on increasing understanding the business side of the industry. This then made me learn accounting and the skills required to gain analytical insights on the business. From there I started to realise that the way Nigeria was headed as a country – with its increasing focus on ‘diversifying’ government revenues as well as the economy – I understood that tax and related matters were going to have significant effects on doing business in Nigeria, both in my sectors of interest and the wider economy as a whole. So, I began learning the rudiments of tax in Nigeria and how the current tax framework of the country developed and was being implemented. I was particularly interested in how same was and would continue to affect entertainment sector practitioners. Given the lack of legal clarity as to the ability of non-certified persons engaging in tax Consultancy in Nigeria, I decided to join the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria which I did in 2017. Since then I have been writing, advising and representing music/film sector business owners and other stakeholders on their tax obligations and compliance with same, whilst, of course, advising them on how to structure their businesses and transactions to ensure they only pay as little tax as they are allowed based on extant laws and regulations. This is my tax story.
- Was taxation a conscious career choice for you or did it ‘call’ you?
Taxation was a conscious decision to add more related skills to my existing legal practice and business analysis expertise
- What challenges did you face on your career path?
Essentially having to restart my career after moving back to Nigeria from the UK
- Are they over now or are there still challenges?
Challenges are overcome and new ones arise. An ongoing thing but part and parcel of achieving success.
- In the era of seeming specialization, what advice do you have for people looking towards starting a career in taxation?
However much one specializes it is important to still always have the ‘big picture’ in mind as well as develop additional complimentary skills – to form a “talent stack” – that can enable one add more value.
- 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/’someone well rounded in tax’ is simply a person that can advise, in a simple and relatable manner, the average person on the street and help them understand how tax laws apply to them in their lives.
- What has been your wildest/ craziest experience as a tax practitioner?
Successfully convincing FIRS to reduce a client’s assessed tax (VAT/WHT) by over N30m by relying on provisions of contract/transaction from which assessable tax arose (of which I drafted said contract).
- If there was anything in the tax space you wish you did, or didn’t do, what would it be?
I wish I had (and to still get) more experience in TAT proceedings.
Olumide Mustapha is the Senior Partner at Technolawgical Partners. He has particular focus on International Commercial Law, Tax and Intellectual Property. Olumide’s aim is to use his years of experience and expertise in international commercial and intellectual property law related matters, and strong network of contacts – both foreign and domestic – to contribute to the legal development of Nigerian enterprise structures and governance, and general business practice; thereby pushing the country closer towards fulfilling its socio-economic potential.