Estate Surveyors May Sue FIRS Over New Stamp Duty Regime
If all the steps being taken by the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) fail, the professional land economists may be approaching a court of competent jurisdiction to interpret the laws guiding taxation in Nigeria.
Emma Wike, president of NIESV said on Tuesday at a briefing in Lagos that the pronouncement by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) on the new tax policy would be counter-productive.
However, the NIESV's boss said that since his institution believes in diversification of the economy, it is advocating a flat rate stamp duty charge on real estate related categories of instruments be left at not more than N1,000.
As part of the measures to increase revenue, FIRS had on Monday, July 20, 2020, counterclaimed a new Stamp Duty Tax Regime.
According to a circular, FIRS said stamp duty would now be paid on house rent, certificate of occupancy (C of O) and other categories of real estate related instruments.
Abdullahi Ahmad, Director of FIRS Communications and Liaison Department, who urged all residents to ensure that all rent or lease documents and C of O are subject to authentication with the new FIRS adhesive stamp duty, entreated that MDAs, landlords and other executors of chargeable transactions are only agents of collection, who are to ensure that stamp duties due on each transaction are remitted to government's account as at when due.
He said this was necessary to give the instruments the force of law and make them legally binding on all parties involved in such transactions.
But reacting to the directive, Wike said it was strange that FIRS, a government’s agency, would at this critical time that the nation is inundated with the CoronaVirus pandemic (COVID-19) and its catastrophic consequences on the Nigerian economy, the health and welfare of the people, canvas such a position and justify the extra tax burden on the people.
Culled from Independent Newspaper, July 2020