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BREAKING: FIRS fights back, insists on collecting VAT until apex court rules

Says 'Maintain status quo, don’t panic'

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The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has insisted that it will continue to collecting Value Added Tax (VAT) until it exhausts all legal possibilities up to the Supreme Court.

This was contained in a statement issued on Monday by the special assistant on media and communication to the chairman of FIRS, Mr. Johannes Oluwatobi Wojuola.

FIRS, in the statement asked taxpayers not to panic over the recent court ruling by the federal high court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Recall that the Port Harcourt High Court threw out a suit filed by FIRS against the Rivers State Government in a bid to stop the State Government from collecting VAT in the state.

Reacting, FIRS stated that “until the court of appeal, or even the supreme court, determines the matter, taxpayers are required to continue to comply with their value-added tax (VAT) obligations within the status quo framework.”

The statement reads:

“The FIRS having lodged, in the Court of Appeal, both an appeal against the decision of the Federal High Court sitting in Rivers State in Suit No. FHC/PH/CS/149/2020, Attorney General of Rivers State Vs Federal Inland Revenue Service, and an injunction pending appeal of the said judgement assures taxpayers that there was no cause for alarm,” the statement reads.

“The Federal High Court ruling should not breed any confusion as to the obligations of taxpayers. Taxpayers must continue to comply with the Value Added Tax Act pending the final determination of the appeal.

“Taxpayers must continue to honour their tax obligations under the VAT Act. Failure to do this would put them on a collision course with the law.

“For the avoidance of doubt, records of appeal have been transmitted to the appellate court. The Service is confident that, given the extant laws, the arguments and case put forward, it will earn a favoured judgment at the appellate court.”

Meanwhile, Nyesom Wike, Rivers state governor, has directed the state’s Internal Revenue Service (RIRS) to fully implement and enforce VAT collection.

The Lagos State House of Assembly also passed the first and second reading of a bill seeking to empower the state government to collect VAT.

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