MEMBERS of the newly inaugurated Tax Appeal Tribunal (TAT) have over 209 tax appeals pending before them, it was learnt yesterday.
Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Finance Dr. Mahmoud Isa-Dutse stated this at the inauguration of tax appeal commissioners in Abuja yesterday.
He said: “As at end of the 3rd Quarter 2018, report shows that a total number of 209 appeals amounting to about $18.804 billion, N205.654 billion and Euro 0.821 million are pending across the zones.”
Dutse cautioned that “from the trend of activities at the zones in the past years, it is anticipated that following the reconstitution of the tribunals, additional new cases will be filed, which will further increase the caseload”.
Most of the pending cases, the permanent secretary said, “involve multinational companies and issues for determination are highly technical and painstaking”.
Isa-Dutse said the Federal Government expects the Tax Appeal Commissioners “to hit the ground running immediately after inauguration”.
He added that the government, in its desire to strengthen the operations of the TAT, “has taken some strategic measures, including the issuance of the Tax Appeal Tribunal (Procedure) Rules 2010, which apply to all proceedings before the tribunal and ensures compliance with standard procedural practice”.
The Tax Appeal Commissioners inaugurated yesterday are the second set since the establishment of the tribunal in 2010. For administrative convenience, the tribunal is established in eight zones to cover the six geo-political zones, namely: Abuja Zone, Lagos Zone, Northcentral Zone (Jos), Northeast Zone (Bauchi), Northwest Zone (Kaduna), Southeast Zone (Enugu), Southsouth Zone (Benin) and Southwest Zone (Ibadan).
The coordinating secretariat coordinates, renders support services and facilitates the operations of the respective zones. Each tribunal consists of a chairman and four other commissioners.
Minister of Finance Mrs. Zainab Ahmed stated that the government’s desire to achieve a sustainable growth and development of the economy informed the concerted efforts by successive governments over the time to reform the Nigerian tax system, among others.
One of the outcomes of the series of reforms, the minister noted, “is the strengthening of the appeal process and creation of the Tax Appeal Tribunal by the Federal Government in 2010. Undoubtedly, the establishment of the tribunal marked a very significant milestone in the annals of our nation’s tax dispute resolution mechanism”.
Mrs. Ahmed said one of the key objectives of the government in setting up the tribunal “is to reduce the incidence of tax evasion and improve the tax payers’ confidence”.
The minister added: “We, therefore, urge you to ensure quality service delivery in line with extant laws, particularly in supporting the government’s quest to improve revenue generation and minimise the monolithic dependence on oil revenue.”
On behalf of the commissioners at the event, the TAT Commissioner/Chairman, Lagos Zone, Mr. Lassise Phillip, said members of the tribunal would “discharge their duties with integrity to build confidence in the tax system by ensuring that government gets not a kobo less than what it is supposed to get and tax payers don’t pay a kobo less than they are supposed to pay”.