A Lawyer and Tax Law expert Mr. Olagoke Odubunmi has faulted the recent directives by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to Taxpayers to continue to pay their Value Added Tax (VAT) despite a subsisting judgement of court.
Mr. Odubunmi stated that the FIRS is “acting either deliberately or ignorantly in deviance of subsisting position of the law.”
He noted that although, the FIRS has appealed against the Federal High Court Rivers state Judgment, and have filed a motion for stay of execution and another motion for injunction, “the Court is yet to rule on those applications, and the law as it stands today, is the pronouncement of the Court in AG Rivers State vs FIRs, until, stayed or set aside…”
He noted also that the reliefs granted by the Court were declaratory and a stay of execution cannot be granted on declaratory reliefs.
According to him, “And by the way, all the reliefs sought and granted by the FHC in this case are declaratory reliefs, (except the last one ). And Until further steps are taken by the Claimant to approach the court for Orders to execute the declarations, there is no way a stay of execution will be granted on declarations”
“FIRS, should stop acting like road side motor garage tout collectors, and follow due process of the law, follow through with the process, rather than threatening and forcing tax payers to act in contravention of the law as it stands today.”
“Irrespective of whether FIRs agrees with the Judgment of the Court, it subsists until stayed or set aside,” he concluded.
Recall that a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt had on Aug. 9 ruled that the Rivers government, not the FIRS, was the rightful authority to collect VAT.
Following the judgment, Gov. Nyesom Wike on Thursday, Aug. 19 signed into law a bill which authorizes the Rivers government to henceforth collect VAT in the state.
However, the FIRS in a directive issued on 22nd of August, 2021 has asked tax payers to continue to comply with their VAT obligations until the matter is resolved by the appellate court.