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N1.2bn tax assessment: Complainant’s absence stalls proceeding over alleged error in assessment

By Meletus EZE

The absence of Mr Joseph Daudu (SAN) on Wednesday stalled proceeding over the tax assessment of his firm by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) at the Tax Appeal Tribunal, sitting in Abuja.

The appellant, Daudu, said he was dissatisfied with the FIRS assessments of his Withholding Tax (WHT), Personal Income Tax and Value Added Tax (VAT) for the period from 2010 to 2017.

Specifically, he expressed dissatisfaction with the decision to assess him with respect to WHT and VAT in the sum of N 1, 226, 115, 562.33.

He, therefore, prayed the tribunal to restrain FIRS.

At the resumed sitting, Mr Abedayo Adedeji, counsel for Dauda, told the Tribunal that the SAN had a major surgery and that was why he could not come.

Adedeji also reiterated that Dauda, who is his principal, would like to handle the matter himself.

In her response, Ms C. Offoregbunem, holding brief for Prof. Taiwo Osipitan (SAN), told the tribunal that they were only served on Monday and needed time to reply.

The tribunal, which was presided over by Mrs Alice Iriogbe, adjourned sitting until March 19 for parties to be served.

Earlier, Daudu had claimed that it was a misnomer for the appellant, who operates a law firm as a legal practitioner and does not deal in primary goods, to be assessed on Withholding Tax (WHT).

“It is unheard of for a legal practitioner to pay Withholding Tax, the respondent acted in error when it assessed the appellant on individual Income Tax from 2010 to 2017 in the sum of N977, 561, 982.08,” he said.

Responding, FIRS noted that its assessments were not in error and that it was discovered that the appellant did not deduct and remit WHT on some of the expenses and payment made under the period in review.

FIRS, therefore, prayed the Tribunal to declare that the notices of assessments issued on the appellant for 2010- 2017 assessment was right.

It also urged the tribunal for an order mandating the appellant to pay the total sum of N1.2 billion being the appellant’s liability for WHT, Personal income tax and VAT for 2010 – 2017 years of assessment.

FIRS stated that it rightly assessed the appellant; acting in accordance with the law and by collaborating with the Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC) on non-declaration of income as well as tax evasion. —NAN


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