International shipping companies operating in Nigeria have been given until December 31st this year to align their financial records with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
Zacch Adedeji, the chairman of FIRS, who gave the order, said it has become necessary for non-domestic companies involved in transporting Nigerian crude oil to adhere strictly to the country’s tax regulations during a workshop jointly organized by FIRS and the Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS) in Lagos.
This move is part of FIRS’ ongoing efforts to broaden the tax base and boost government revenue, with a specific focus on examining the activities of foreign shipping companies engaged in lifting hydrocarbons from Nigeria.
Adedeji, as stated by Dare Adekanmbi, his Special Adviser on Media, clarified that FIRS aims solely to ensure compliance with existing tax laws, assuring international companies that the agency does not seek to disrupt their operations.
Adedeji said: “The federal government aims to elevate Nigeria’s tax-to-GDP ratio to 18% in the coming three years without imposing additional taxes but by expanding the tax base.”
He urged non-compliant international shipping companies to promptly adhere to Nigerian tax laws, highlighting the government’s awareness of stakeholders’ concerns in the oil, gas, and maritime sectors regarding the tax compliance exercise.
Adedeji also recalled his prior intervention, which led to a six-month grace period granted to non-resident shipping companies to regularize their tax status. This grace period concludes by the end of this year.
Underlining the importance of collaboration, Adedeji emphasized FIRS’ commitment to transparently resolving assessment notices served on any taxpayer, affirming the agency’s preparedness to enforce Nigerian tax laws while safeguarding taxpayer rights.
The workshop organized with stakeholders from the oil, gas, and maritime sectors signals FIRS’ dedication to addressing compliance challenges collaboratively.