The Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Zacch Adedeji, has called on non-domestic companies involved in shipping crude oil from Nigeria to adhere strictly to the country’s tax laws, News About Nigeria reports.
This directive was issued during a workshop on the taxation of non-resident shipping companies organised by FIRS in collaboration with the Oil Producers Trade Section held in Lagos.
Addressing participants, Adedeji emphasised that the ongoing tax compliance exercise by FIRS on foreign shipping companies engaged in lifting hydrocarbons from Nigeria is part of broader measures aimed at expanding the tax net to boost government revenue.
He highlighted the relevance of Section 14 of the Companies Income Tax Act (CITA) 2004, which mandates foreign companies involved in shipping and air transport operations in Nigeria to file tax returns to continue their business within the country.
Adedeji assured international companies that FIRS is focused on ensuring compliance with existing tax laws and not on disrupting their operations.
He reminded attendees that the workshop aimed to address challenges related to tax compliance by foreign companies and find lasting solutions.
During the workshop, Adedeji reiterated the Federal Government’s goal to increase Nigeria’s tax-to-GDP ratio to 18% within the next three years, emphasising the strategy of broadening the tax net without imposing additional taxes.
The compliance exercise on international shipping companies lifting crude oil aligns with this strategy.
The FIRS chairman urged international shipping companies not complying with Nigerian tax laws to take immediate action.
He acknowledged concerns raised by stakeholders in the oil and gas industry and the maritime sector, emphasising that FIRS has no intention of disrupting operations but aims to instil compliance with tax laws.
Adedeji pointed out that, as Special Adviser on Revenue, he facilitated an intervention in June that granted a six-month grace period to non-resident shipping companies to regularize their tax affairs, which is set to expire at the end of the year.
The workshop saw the participation of various stakeholders, including members of the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners, the International Chamber of Shipping, the Independent Petroleum Producers Group, government agencies, and tax advisers.
Adedeji reassured that FIRS is open to a transparent and fair resolution of assessment notices served on any taxpayer but is also prepared to enforce Nigerian tax laws if required, without violating the rights of any taxpayer.