Tax Tribunal Rejects Stanbic IBTC’s Appeal Against Niger State Internal Revenue Service
In what could amount to a masterstroke in fortune meeting active preparedness, the Niger State Internal Revenue Service under the proactive leadership of Mr. Muhammad Etsu Madami have just secured a landmark ruling in its case against Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc.
In its ruling dismissing the appeal of the Bank, the Hon. Richard Bala-led Panel of the North Central Zone Tax Appeal Tribunal holden in Jos ruled that the case lacks merit, adding that the appellant did not present any evidence to be granted the reliefs sought.
The Tribunal further added that the Etsu Madami-led Revenue Service has a constitutional and statutory right to distrain any tax defaulter.
It would be recalled that as part of his efforts to reform and reposition the Service since assumption of duty in June 2021, Etsu Madami has sought to pursue and bring to conclusion all outstanding issues especially those related to third parties in the Revenue collection process.
The Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc has, in particular, been embroiled in a legal dispute with the Service as to the status and payment of 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, and a further revised assessment 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) demanded by the Revenue Service for non-filling /late filling of monthly returns on new customer accounts for the period of June 2011 – March 2021.
Upon the rejection of these demands by Stanbic IBTC, the Niger State Internal Revenue Service finally issued the Notice of Refusal to Amend (NORA) with a further threat to execute distrain against the bank.
In its submission to the Tribunal, the Revenue Service further 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 and therefore urged the court to dismiss the appeal with cost.
In its ruling, 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.”, Hon. Richard Bala ruled.
This ruling, coming on the heels of an improved and sustained growth in Revenue collection since assumption of office (from barely N10 Billion in a whole year, to a staggering N16 Billion in December 2021 alone!) is a testament to the wonderful strides Mr Etsu Madami is achieving in the State.
The implementation of an Integrated Tax Administration System (ITAS) has further strengthened Niger State’s tax base and helped in plugging leakages within the system, thereby boosting IGR.
It therefore comes as no surprise that Niger State Internal Revenue Service will secure a ruling against Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc at the Tax Appeal Tribunal, for it is evidence of a meticulous and efficient Service that Mr Muhammad Etsu Madami has championed since 2021. Through a proactive leadership and astute management of human and material resources, Mr Etsu Madami has repositioned a Service that had been hitherto underwhelming in its core mandate.
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