Rivers judgment: Continue to pay your VAT, FIRS tells taxpayers


The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has urged taxpayers in the country to continue to pay their Value Added Tax (VAT), since judgement against the agency is being challenged at the Appeal Court.

In a statement issued Sunday in Abuja by its Director Communications and Liaison Department, Abdullahi Ismaila Ahmad, the agency threatened defaulters with penalties.

FIRS in the statement said since the judgement against the agency on VAT collection by Federal High Court in Port Harcourt is being challenged in the Appeal Court , tax payers have no excuse not to pay their tax as at when due.

The Port Harcourt court judgment which was sequel to litigation against FIRS over VAT collection by Rivers state government, stated that states and not FIRS, are constitutionally empowered to collect VAT.

However, in the  statement entitled, “Rivers Judgment: FIRS Urges Taxpayers to Continue to Pay VAT”, the FIRS said that since the service has already appealed the Rivers judgment in an appeal seeking a stay of execution order, the status quo ante subsists on the VAT collection authority, hence, taxpayers should continue to pay their VAT to the FIRS.

The statement reads: “The attention of the Federal Inland Revenue Service(FIRS) has been drawn to the trending report that, on 19/08/2021, the government of Rivers state took steps to enact a Value Added Tax Law for Rivers state following the judgment of the Federal High Court,Port Harcourt Division, on 9th August 2021 in Suit No: CS/149/2020.  The suit was about who has the constitutional duty for the collection of VAT and Personal Income Tax in Rivers State. 

“We wish to inform the general public that, before the above-mentioned steps taken by the government of Rivers state, FIRS had lodged an appeal against the above judgment and had also filed an application for stay of execution of the judgment as well asking the court for an injunction pending determination of the appeal.

“All parties to the suit are aware that both applications were heard on the 19th and 20th August, 2021 and are awaiting the decision of the court.

“Given that the Court of Appeal is yet to rule on the appeal from the judgment of Federal High Court and that the Federal High Court is yet to deliver a ruling on FIRS’s applications for stay of execution and injunction, members of the public are advised to continue to comply with their Value Added Tax obligations until the matter is resolved by the appellate courts.”