The Executive Chairman of the FIRS has asked Nigerians not to mistake the Stamp Duty which the FIRS is legally mandated to collect from the Postage Stamps which is the collection responsibility of NIPOST.
Muhammad Nami, the Chairman, made it known when he responded to questions from the press on the issue of Stamp Duty. This comes at a time when some commentators have been mixing up the two items as one.
The FIRS Chairman said: “Thank you very much for this question. It is not much of a controversy, really. To my mind, I think there’s a misunderstanding of the issues involved. Let me use this opportunity to set the matter straight.
“We are all educated people and so we should not confuse postage stamp which traditionally belongs to NIPOST with the stamp duty. For the avoidance of doubt, postage stamp is a signage that is affixed on a letter, visa, and in some cases agreements, and it is sold by NIPOST.
“The money that accrues from the sales of postage stamp is also remitted to the Federal Government’s Single Treasury Account (TSA). The sale of postage stamp by NIPOST is the practice across the world.
“On the other hand, stamp duty relates to matters executed between a company and an individual, group or body of individuals. It is a tax on legal documents, deeds of agreements and contracts, electronic transfers, and electronic receipts on transactions in the region of N10,000 and above or transfers in like sum from one current account to another current account.
“The position of the law on stamp duty as at today is that it is the responsibility of the FIRS to collect stamp duty on behalf of the Federal Government. This is the tenable position in the light of available evidence.
“In the first instance, since 1939 the Federal Board of Inland Revenue (FBIR), which transformed to FIRS in 1958, had been collecting stamp duty.
“Similarly, the recently gazetted Finance Act 2019 has amended S.4(1) of the Stamp Duty Act contained in S.(8) of the Law of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 to give the FIRS the sole right of collecting stamp duty on behalf of the Federal Government.
“Also, sometime in 2016, the then Accountant-General of the Federation, issued a circular mandating relevant bodies to remit all stamp duty revenues collected to the FIRS account with the Central Bank.”
Furthermore, he affirmed that more important, the stamp duties so collected as tax were remitted into the Federation Account for onward disbursement to the three tiers of government, from which NIPOST benefits.
“These are the indubitable differences between the claim by both agencies of government. And so, the stamp duty is one key tax we intend to focus on going forward. We are going to be diligent in collecting stamp duty as applicable under extant laws.
“We are very determined to make sure that all collecting agents of stamp duty, that is, the Money Deposit Banks and MDAs, remit it promptly to the FIRS account with the Central Bank.
“Given that the FIRS has the sole right to collect the stamp duty, it has commenced solid arrangements to make stamp duty the goose that lays the golden egg for the federal government to shore up its revenue base in order to beat a likely economic meltdown as a result of the outbreak of the COVID-19.
“To achieve this, I met with the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of banks few months back in Lagos to enlist their support to achieve 100 per cent compliance in stamp duty collection through the use of automation solutions now being rolled out by FIRS,” he concluded.