Tax Tribunal dismisses Stanbic IBTC appeal against Niger State Internal Revenue Service


The North Central Zone of the Tax Appeal Tribunal holden in Jos has dismissed the appeal filed by Stanbic Ibtc Bank Plc against Niger State Internal Revenue Service for lacking merit.

 

The Panel led by Hon. Richard Bala held that Stanbic IBTC has not placed any evidence before the Tribunal to be entitled to the reliefs sought, and the Niger State Internal Revenue Service has a right to distrain any tax defaulter the moment the tax assessment becomes final and conclusive.

From facts, the Appellant – Stanbic IBTC had asked for an order of the Tribunal nullifying and discharging any purported warrant of distrain obtained by the Niger State Internal Revenue Service to be levied against the bank. Likewise, a declaration that the threat of the Niger State Internal Revenue Service’s intention to levy warrant of restrain is premature, oppressive and unconstitutional amongst others.

The bank submitted that Niger State Internal Revenue Service through a letter dated 27th April 2021 demanded the sum of N54, 245,812.38(Fifty-Four Million, Two Hundred and Forty-Five Thousand, Eight Hundred and Twelve Naira, Thirty-Eight Kobo) as unremitted Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) for the 2018 -2020 tax years which it objected to, and after series of correspondences between the parties, the revenue agency raised a revised assessment demanding payment of the sum of N6, 395,447.48 (Six Million Three Hundred and Ninety-Five Thousand, Four Hundred and Forty-Seven Naira, Forty-Eight Kobo) for non-filling /late filling of monthly returns on new customer accounts for the period of June 2011 – March 2021.

Stanbic IBTC again objected to this particular demand for including matters that were already settled at the meeting, and Niger State Internal Revenue Service finally issued the Notice of Refusal to amend (NORA) with a further threat to execute distrain against the bank consequent upon which the appeal was instituted.

Counsel to Stanbic IBTC averred that the bank having filed a valid objection to the demand notice, the assessment cannot be said to be final, and urged the Court to grant the reliefs sought.

In defence, the respondent- Niger State Internal Revenue Service argued that Stanbic IBTC failed to challenge the said assessment within the time allowed by law and by implication, it has failed to activate the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, that the appeal before the Tribunal is frivolous and academic.

The Niger State Internal Revenue Service urged the court to dismiss the appeal with cost.

In its well-considered judgment after careful evaluation of the evidence and submissions of both parties, the tribunal led by Hon. Richard Bala as Chairman, Hon. Zaidu Abdullahi, Hon. Ukera Emmanuel, Hon. Ogbaenyi Chikwendu and Hon. Saidu Ahmed as members held that no evidence was placed before the Tribunal to prove that the Stanbic IBTC objected to the revised assessment within the statutory period of 30days as permitted by Statute.

The tribunal maintained that Stanbic IBTC failed to attack the legal validity or otherwise of the bank’s NORA of 24 December 2021 neither was there a specific prayer made by the bank requesting the Tribunal to quash the NORA in question, that Stanbic IBTC dissipated so much man hours and industry on an alleged threat by the Respondent to shut down and seal the business premises.

On the alleged distrain, the tribunal clarified that Niger State Internal Revenue Service has a right to distrain any tax defaulter the moment the tax assessment becomes final and conclusive.

The tribunal held that Stanbic IBTC had not placed any evidence before the Tribunal to be entitled to the reliefs sought, and dismissed the case for lacking merit.


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