Polaris Bank Floors Abia Govt at Tax Appeal Tribunal
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Polaris Bank Limited, which was formerly operating as Skye Bank Plc, has won its case against the Abia State Government over a N1.528 billion tax assessment disagreement brought before a tax appeal tribunal sitting in Enugu State.
The lender had taken the Abia State Board of Internal Revenue to the tribunal, seeking to determine if the agency followed due process provided in tax laws and regulations in dealing with it.
According to Polaris Bank, it wanted to know if the state government was entitled to collect development levy and business premises levy without enabling state’s laws and whether the tax agency was entitled to collect penalty and interest based on any of the notices it served.
After listening to the arguments of the parties, Chairman of the appeal tribunal, Mr Chukwuemeka Eze, said, “From the foregoing, the tribunal resolves all the issues in favour of appellant and consequently granted reliefs 1 to 6 of the appellant.”
On issue six, the appeal tribunal said from its decision of June 20, 2019 in Nigeria Breweries PLC V. Abia State Board of Internal Revenue, the notice and grounds of appeal by the respondent were competent. He noted that one of the takeaways from that decision is that the respondent is a juristic person.
He, however, advised tax payers not to wait for a tax audit before discovering and paying monies under remitted.
Mr Eze also said that a tax authority does not impose tax, but tax legislations; while a tax authority collects as stipulated in section 1 of PITA.
“You should be mindful of how your approach to tax issues will impact on investment in your State. Giving a taxpayer 48 hours or 7 days or any other period less than what the statute provides and changing assessment figures like the colour of a chameleon reduces the confidence of the taxpayer in the tax system.
“There is need to adhere to the provisions of PITA and relevant regulations in your dealing with taxpayers,” the tribunal chief said.