FIRS In Fresh Push For Churches,Mosques To Pay Tax

The Federal Inland Revenue Service,
FIRS, has told operators of Non-
Governmental Organisations (NGOs), which
includes religious bodies that Nigeria’s tax
laws do not exempt them from paying tax.
“Nigerian tax laws do not necessarily exempt
NGOs from paying taxes. Rather they
recognise NGOs as basically no-for-profit
entities, which are therefore exempted from
paying Income Tax. Where, however, an NGO
engages in activities from which it derives
profits, then it will be required to pay taxes
on such profits, like any other profit-making
entity,” said Alh. Kabir Mashi, FIRS Acting
Executive Chairman, at a sensitization
meeting in Abuja, yesterday.
According to Mashi, who was represented by
the Coordinating Director of Modernisation,
Mr. Osy Chuke, the only tax from which such
organizations were exempted was Income
Tax. However, if they got involved in
activities that yielded profit, taxes had to be
paid to the federal government from such
profits and that personal income taxes of
their staff had to be paid to the government.
“Also, other than income taxes, NGOs are not
exempted from paying taxes such as Value
Added Tax (VAT), on goods and
services. They are also required to deduct
and pay over Personal Income Tax from the
salaries and allowances paid to their
employees, amongst others,” he said.
A Medium Tax Office has therefore been
opened in Abuja to handle NGOs’ tax issues.
Coordinating Director, Field Operations
Group, Mr. Ajayi Bamidele, who spoke earlier
at the meeting noted that NGOs were
exempted from some taxes, in recognition of
their contributions in the society, but some
operators mistook the exemptions to cover
all taxes.
“It was found that there is little awareness
about tax obligations of NGOs in Nigeria,
even where these NGOs carry out business
activities.
“There is this erroneous belief among
operators that as tax exempt organizations,
they are exempted from all tax obligations,
including filing of returns.
“This assumption is not correct and I think
this is what led to the proliferation of
organizations doing business but registered
as NGOs in all manners of human
endeavours in Nigeria,” Bamidele said.
The sensitization meeting is expected to
have shed more light on why the FIRS have
been pushing for religious bodies and other
NGOs to pay tax, and the kind of tax they
need to pay.

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