Uche Usim, Abuja
The newly inaugurated Tax Appeal Tribunal on Tuesday advised those seeking justice to come clean and clear as it would not tolerate tardiness that may delay the dispensation of justice.
The advice came as the busy commenced its sitting on tax related cases that have piled for months, awaiting the tribunal’s action.
Speaking at the opening session of the sitting, the Chairman of the Abuja zone of the Tribunal, Hon. Alice Iriogbe warned those having tax disputes against adopting unnecessary delays strategies.
She said the Tribunal would discharge it’s duties in a manner that would ensure that the government does not collect more than what is due to it while also protecting the tax payer from unnecessary exploitation.
She said, “The last time the Tax Appeal Tribunal was held in this manner was in 2016. The Tribunal has been on break until now and we want to assure you that the Tribunal is composed of legal, tax and accounting experts.
“We shall do our best to ensure that justice is done to parties that deserve justice from this tribunal.
“The tribunal will ensure that government does not collect less than it ought to collect and also to ensure that tax payers do not have to pay more than it ought to pay.
“We are able, willing and very ready to cooperate with you to ensure that justice is done. But we shall not entertain unnecessary time wastage and we shall act promptly when needed to avoid asking for unnecessary adjournment.”
The chairman said in discharging it’s duties, the Tribunal would encourage dialogue and settlements between parties as this will make payment of taxes easier.
She also said the Tribunal would apply the law strictly in ensuring that justice is done to all interested parties.
The Tax Appeal Tribunal was established pursuant to Section 59 (I) and the Fifth Schedule of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act, 2007.
It was specifically set up to adjudicate on all disputes arising from operations of the Companies Income Tax Act, Petroleum Profit Tax Act, Capital Gains Tax Act, Stamp Duties Act, Value Added Tax, Taxes and Levies among others.
The Tribunal, which was inaugurated by the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed on November 5 had about 209 cases that are pending at the various Tax Appeal Tribunals across the country.
The monetary value of 209 pending cases across the six geo-political zones of the Tax Appeal Tribunal are $18.80bn, N205.65bn and €0.821m based on figures provides by the ministry of finance.
The pending cases involved multinational companies, while the issues for determination are highly technical and painstaking.
The Tribunal is one of the windows provided in Nigeria’s tax administration system which offers an aggrieved party the opportunity to explore other dispute resolution mechanisms before gaining access to the Law Courts.
Among other things, it helps to reduce the caseload of the over-laden regular courts by providing less formal fora for quicker, cheaper and expert resolution of tax disputes in the public interest.