The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) said it is working on a stamp duty palliative package for tenants in view of the current economic realities occasioned by COVID-19.
Mr Abdullahi Ahmad, Director, Communications and Liaison Department of the service made this known in a statement in Abuja.
Ahmad said the FIRS Executive Chairman, Mr. Muhammad Nami, hinted that stamp duty would not be collected in arrears from tenants.
He quoted the executive chairman as saying “there is never a time when taxation is convenient for everybody to pay but I enjoin Nigerians to embrace tax payment as a patriotic duty to our dear country, Nigeria”.
Nami stated that the FIRS was aware that many taxable Nigerians and businesses in the country were going through difficulties imposed on all of by COVID-19.
He said FIRS had consistently rolled out tax-related palliatives to relieve them of their tax liabilities since the pandemic shut down the Nigerian and global economy.
The executive chairman said that contrary to some false claims in certain quarters, stamp duty was not a creation of the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari or the current leadership of the FIRS.
“Stamp Duty dates back to colonial times in Nigeria. It has been a form of tax in Nigeria as far back as 1939 when you and I were not yet born.
“It was codified in our laws in 1953 that is before independence. It was consolidated in 2002, published in 2006 and further reworked into the Stamp Duty Act 2004.
“The Joint Tax Board (JTB) where states are represented consider it necessary to bring the stamp duty Act to the attention of Nigerians following the recent launch of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Audit and Recovery of Back Years Stamp Duties where the new FIRS Adhesive Stamp Duty was unveiled.
“As chairman of the JTB, the FIRS was mandated to enlighten Nigerians on stamp duty. That’s why the FIRS published a clarification notice on the stamp duty and we shall continue to educate the public on it.
“Again, for purpose of clarity, the 6 per cent stamp duty rate is not chargeable across board. It is only chargeable on rent or lease agreement of above 21 years.
“If your rent or lease is between 7 and 21 years, the stamp duty rate is three per cent. And if you pay your rent monthly or yearly, that is less than 7 years, your stamp duty rate is 0.78 per cent.
“The 0.78 per cent is the rate for most tenants like you and I who live in Suleja or Minna. If your rent is N100,000 like you said, you only pay 0.78 per cent, which is marginal.
Those who live in Maitama who pay N10 million as rent will pay more at the same 0.78 per cent because their rent is higher than our own in other parts of Abuja.” he said.