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Stop collecting VAT, income taxes in Rivers – it is for state government, Court tells FIRS

The federal high court in Port Harcourt says the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) should stop collecting value-added tax (VAT) and personal income tax (PIT) in Rivers state in a fresh order.

Technocrat Media Nigeria

PORT-HARCOURT – The federal high court in Port Harcourt says the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) should stop collecting value-added tax (VAT) and personal income tax (PIT) in Rivers state in a fresh order.

In a ruling on Monday, the federal high court directed the Rivers state government to take charge of the collection.

TheCable reported that Rivers state government (plaintiff) had filed a case, with suit No. FHC/PH/CS/149/2020, against the FIRS (first defendant) and the attorney general of the federation (second defendant) over demands, threats, and intimidation of the state residents to pay PIT and VAT by the tax agency.

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The state government had approached the court for 11 reliefs. These incorporate an assertion that the force of the central government to assign the assortment of charges must be practiced by the state government or other authority of the state and no other individual as per arrangements in Part II (simultaneous authoritative rundown) of the Second Schedule of the 1999 constitution as revised.

The court, presided by Justice Stephen Pam, dismissed the preliminary objections filed by the defendants that the court lacks jurisdiction to hear the suit and as such the case should be transferred to the court of appeal for interpretation.

Justice Pam said that after a diligent review of the issues raised by both the plaintiff and the defendants, the plaintiff has proven beyond doubt that it is entitled to all the 11 reliefs it sought in the suit.

He, therefore, granted all the reliefs sought for by the state, explaining that there is no constitutional basis for FIRS to demand and collect VAT, withholding tax, education tax, and technology levy in Rivers state or any other state of the federation.

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The court further ruled that the defendants (FG, FIRS) are not constitutionally entitled to charge or impose levies, charges, or rates (under any guise or by whatever name called) on the residents of Rivers state and any state of the federation.

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