Update on FIRS Covid-19 Tax Palliatives To Support Taxpayers

As promised, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has provided further palliative measures to cushion the negative effects of Covid-19 on taxpayers.

We informed you by our last update that FIRS waived all penalties and interests for all taxpayers as long as outstanding tax liabilities are settled in full on or before 31st May, 2020. By a Public Notice, the FIRS has now extended the waiver of penalties and interests to 30th June, 2020.

Though the extended waiver applies to all taxpayers, to clear any doubts the FIRS highlighted some categories of taxpayers that need to take advantage of the palliative. They include taxpayers that have outstanding liabilities from:

  • filing of self-assessments;
  • tax audits, tax investigation and desk review assessments; and
  • approved VAIDS payment plans with full or partial default.

Incentives applicable to VAIDS debtors such as: (i) waiver of penalties and interests; (ii) exemption from tax audit; and (iii) exemption from tax investigation may also be withdrawn if default persists.

Please see our article on VAIDS for a detailed explanation of its application. Below is an excerpt:

“When a Convict on the death row is granted pardon or when an Amputee is given new limbs and can walk again, the only thing that can follow, is overwhelming bliss, a feeling of redemption, a new beginning. That is what VAIDS brings to the table – Redemption, from our Tax iniquities and a new Beginning of Tax compliance.

VAIDS is a scheme that the Federal Government affectionately created to give a last chance to erring Tax Payers to set their houses in order before unforgettable measures are taken against them. It can be likened to the calm before the Storm.”

In similar vein, the FIRS by another Public Notice informed taxpayers that Audit, Investigation and Monitoring Exercises earlier suspended as part of the measures to cushion the impact of Covid-19 will resume in two phases.

For the first phase, there will be immediate continuation of findings/liabilities arising as a result of (i) Desk Reviews; (ii) Monitoring Visits; (iii) Tax Audit; and (iv) Tax Investigation.

For the second phase field audits in respect of Monitoring, Tax Audit and Tax Investigation will resume effective from 30th June, 2020.

FIRS commended taxpayers who have paid taxes either physically or electronically despite the scourge.

The FIRS promised to continue updating taxpayers with necessary information and encouraged taxpayers to contact their tax offices or the Regional Debt Management Office for enquiries.


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