N248.5m: Ex-NBA President, JB Daudu, SAN Wins FIRS as Court sets Aside Judgment of Tax Appeal Tribunal [DOWNLOAD FULL JUDGMENT]
A former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Mr. J.B Daudu SAN has won his appeal against the decision of the Tax Appeal Tribunal ordering him to pay N248.5 million to Federal Inland Revenue, FIRS.
The Tax Appeal Tribunal, Abuja had on the 23rd day of June, 2021 ordered Joseph Daudu, SAN, to pay the sum of N248.5 million to Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, being his tax assessments.
The sum which comprised N176,565,016.74 as value added tax, VAT, from 2010-2017 and N71,987,564.52 as withholding tax, WHT, from 2010-2017, formed the grand total. The appellant, Mr Daudu, had challenged an alleged N1.2 billion tax error in his taxation allegedly carried out by FIRS, by filing an appeal before the Tribunal.
Delivering the Judgment of the Federal High Court, Justice I.E. Ekwo after considering the appeal filed by the Appeallant, dismissed the entire judgment of the Tax Appeal Tribunal noting that the subject matter of the case are issues that have been determined by the federal high court prior to the events that gave rise to them.
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According to the Court “The Respondent ought to have been guided by the decision in Emmanuel Chukwuka Ukala, SAN v. AG Fed and Anor. being that it was decided on 12th December, 2020 long before the TAT gave its decision on 23rd June, 2021 per page 1038 of the record. However, learned Counsel for the Respondent failed to draw the attention of the Court to this previous decision. Clearly he had a duty in law to do so; see Global Trans S. A. vs Free Enter ltd. where it was stated that it is the duty of Counsel to draw the Courts attention to previous decision of the Court on the same subject matter.”
The Court further held that the Tax Appeal Tribunal failed to observe the principle of fair hearing and nullified the entire proceedings of the tribunal.
On the participation of a member of the tribunal who was absent during proceedings, the court held that participation is not optional as against the argument of counsel to the Respondent. Justice I. E. Ekwo proceeded to state that a member of the Tax Appeal tribunal who was absent during the attendance of proceedings has no business in taking part in decision making. In the words of the learned judge, “This is a grave error on the part of TAT.”
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