Enny Money is the CEO of Life is Eazi Limited and as a law-abiding citizen, she ensures that Life is Eazi Ltd. pays and files all its taxes at the right time.
Covid-19 (Rona) came knocking and the lockdown followed. Now the lockdown is majorly over, but Enny Money and the staff of Life is Eazi Ltd. are still embracing Working from Home, because #YOLO.
Life is Eazi Ltd. has some taxes due for payment and filing with the FIRS but seeing as filing taxes physically are out of the question, what can the righteous do?
Since Rona landed from the abroad, the Nigerian government has put policies in place to mitigate the harsh effects of Rona. One good example is the recent tax waiver of all penalties and interests for all taxpayers as long as they pay all their tax debts in full on or before 31st May, 2020. This measure was implemented to shield individuals and companies from the unforeseen challenges faced by the Covid-19 pandemic and of course, Enny Money and Life is Eazi Ltd. are grateful.
The question however remains – who will go to collect everlasting numbers from the Bank or press body with other bodies in the FIRS office on or before May 31, for tax purposes?
ONE STEP AHEAD
Wouldn’t you love if the government always thinks about things ahead and makes provision for any difficulties that citizens may face before these difficulties are even encountered?
Well, the FIRS has in various statements announced that taxpayers can totally embrace taxpaying and filing while in the comfort of their homes – because that’s how Stars do.
The FIRS has long been restructuring the online tax service system to operate nationwide and had since introduced various electronic tax services (e-services) which taxpayers can make use of in these times. These e-services include:
1. E-mail Services: Funny but true, the FIRS has actually given taxpayers the opportunity to file/submit their tax returns online via email. This opportunity was also facilitated by the decided case of Earth Moving International Limited v. FIRS where the Tax Appeal Tribunal sitting at Lagos held that a taxpayer can object via online means to FIRS tax assessments.
So you can actually submit your returns and engage the FIRS via the designated email addresses of the FIRS office nearest to you.
2. Integrated Stamp Duty Services (ISDS): Through the ISDS online platform, taxpayers can pay stamp duties for their stamp duty eligible documents without needing to go to a physical office. The ISDS covers the document assessment process, payment of the stamp duty and e-stamping by the FIRS.
3. E-Tax payment: Online payment of taxes due to the FIRS can be done from the comfort of everyone’s homes via platforms like Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement (NIBSS), eTranzact, Quickteller, Remitta and Interswitch. Taxpayers can even pay taxes with their internet banking and mobile banking channels.
The electronic payment channels produce e-payment acknowledgments/ receipts which are sent to taxpayer’s emails and which can evidence payment to the FIRS.
4. E-filing: Taxpayers can also file their tax returns and relevant supporting documents online through the FIRS online Integrated Tax Administration System (ITAS) portal. The e-filing application forms part of the ITAS.
To use the ITAS, taxpayers have to be registered for e-filing with their FIRS offices. Taxpayers can email the FIRS via firstname.lastname@example.org to request for registration to the e-filing platform. When taxpayers obtain a user ID from the FIRS they can then render their tax returns using the ITAS platform.
Bypassing all of this process and simply filing returns via email may hold a better appeal to many taxpayers though!
5. Electronic tax clearance certificates (e-TCC): After paying all due taxes, taxpayers can apply for, receive and verify the authenticity of third party TCCs online via https://tcc.firs.gov.ng .
So Enny Money/Life is Eazi Ltd. can fulfill all tax obligations and take advantage of all applicable FIRS palliatives without the worry about jumping buses, rising number of cases, Rona in the air or on surfaces, opportunity/ability to run at the slightest cough, or other any physical impediments.
WHERE ARE ALL THE OTHERS?
You’ve probably wondered if the state tax authorities are left out of the E-migration? Well, they also can’t carry last. Covid-19 no go shame person.
The Lagos Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) has also extended the deadline for filing of Annual Tax Returns for individual tax-payers including self-employed persons (ordinarily due on or before 31st March) for two months. The new due date is May 31st, 2020.
The LIRS further enjoins all taxpayers to stay home ‘n’ chill while using its eTax platform at any time of the day for all tax operations and administration matters including tax payments and filing of annual tax returns.
How to access the eTax platform? Simply log on to https://etax.lirs.net or call the LIRS Customer Care Line on 0700 CALL LIRS (070022555477).
Other State tax authorities like the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service also have e-tax payment and e-TCC alternatives that definitely come in handy at these times.
The outbreak of Covid-19 has highlighted the need to digitalize our mode of working, doing business and of course, paying taxes and the FIRS has always encouraged taxpayers to take advantage of its simple, user-friendly and robust E-processes as an easier and safer alternative to visiting its tax offices.
Undertaking tax operations online comes with many advantages which include reduction of paper work, operational costs, administrative costs, enhanced convenience in tax payment, increased tax compliance, elimination of major delays caused by bureaucracy, among other things. It is surely a sustainable alternative in the event that Covid-19 doesn’t go anytime soon.
Unique times however bring about unique uncertainties and it may not be out of the ordinary to encounter glitches in the e-systems of tax authorities. Tax payers may also encounter the usual challenges such as inconsistent internet service, unreliable supply of electricity, etc. which may affect their ability to effectively carry out their tax operations. The tax palliative measures of the tax authorities however come to play by making up for setbacks such as these that taxpayers may face in the fulfillment of their obligations.
Do enjoy your week and stay safe!
Ashymiu (Hashim) is apt with legal writing, creative writing and advocacy. A budding legal practitioner, his areas of interest include corporate practice, tax law, environmental law and litigation. He is keen on exploring – discovering new places, new people and culture.
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