The 2017 Nigerian tax journal
We are pleased to publish the maiden edition of the Nigerian Tax Journal. The Journal is a compilation of significant decided tax cases in 2016, key pronouncements from tax administrators and regulatory agencies, and some of the thought leadership articles authored by KPMG Nigeria subject-matter specialists. The environment in which Tax Directors or Heads of Tax operate has changed significantly.
The current economic recession is increasing pressure on companies to cut costs and on tax authorities to aggressively enhance revenue. Consequently, taxation, more than ever before, has become a front burner issue for business leaders, Chief Financial Officers and Heads of Tax. Our main objective in publishing this Journal is to help companies effectively manage their tax risks and position their businesses for future success. The KPMG Nigerian Tax Journal will serve as a valuable reference material on important tax issues impacting business decisions.
This maiden edition features some key rulings that have greatly helped in addressing some tax disputes. The tax administrators’ policy section covers policy pronouncements by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). It also contains select articles on tax, transfer pricing and regulatory issues across the various sectors of the Nigerian economy.
Development of tax law, administration and practice is a joint and several responsibility of the Government, tax administrators, practitioners and academics alike. Unfortunately, we are far behind on tax law reform in Nigeria as the last time any business tax legislation was enacted or amended was 2007. This is in spite of the various pending memoranda and proposals for tax law reform submitted to the Federal Government by different stakeholders, such as Nigerian Insurers Association, Association of Food, Beverages and Tobacco Employers and the Nigerian Economic Summit Group. The experience is the same with draft tax laws, such as VAT Amendment Bill, that the Federal Inland Revenue Service prepared and circulated for public comments a few years back.
This is an area for significant improvement by the fiscal and legislative authorities in Nigeria, especially as the defunct military government was better at promulgating, amending or repealing tax laws, as the case may be, on an annual basis after announcement of the budget.
We need to revive this approach of using annual budgets to launch fiscal reforms. This practice has become standard in many countries in Africa and the rest of the world. We also need more dynamism in case law reporting and publication of tax literature to spawn tax reform and improve tax education, tax administration and practice. This maiden edition of Nigerian Tax Journal is KPMG’s modest contribution in this regard.
2016 was generally active in tax dispute resolution through the Tax Appeal Tribunal and the Federal High Court. Some of the decisions brought clarity to some tax issues where there was uncertainty in the absence of any judicial pronouncement on the issues. These have been appropriately summarized in the Journal. The Journal is also a resource material on changes by the tax authorities to practice and procedures in the course of the year. We republished extracts of articles written by some of our tax professionals during the year with references for further reading by users of the Journal.
A compendium such as this will serve as a reference material for tax administrators, practitioners and academics alike for whom the Journal will give an overview of developments in tax dispute resolution, tax reform and policy changes, and commentaries by KPMG tax professionals in selected publications in the course of the year.
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