Continue paying your VAT to us, FIRS tells Rivers taxpayers

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The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has urged taxpayers in Rivers State to continue paying their Value Added Tax (VAT) to it pending the determination of their legal tussle with the state government.

The federal agency is legally battling the Nyesom Wike administration which claimed the state government had the right to collect VAT and not the federal government.

A federal high court sitting in Port Harcourt which delivered its verdict on the matter agreed with the state government but the FIRS whom the judgment was against has approached the Court of Appeal.

In a statement on Sunday by Abdullahi Ahmad, spokesperson of the FIRS, the commission explained that it has appealed the verdict and filed for stay of execution hence it should continue collecting the VAT despite Mr Wike’s recent assent to a bill that authorises the state government to collect VAT in its domains henceforth.

“The attention of the Federal Inland Revenue Service(FIRS) has been drawn to the trending report that, on 19/08/2021, the Government of Rivers State took steps to enact a Value Added Tax Law for Rivers State following the Judgment of the Federal High Court Port Harcourt Division on 9th August 2021 in Suit No: CS/149/2020,” the statement reads.

“The suit was about who has the constitutional duty for the collection of VAT and Personal income tax in Rivers State.

“We wish to inform the general public that, before the above-mentioned steps taken by the Government of Rivers State, FIRS had lodged an appeal against the above judgment and had also filed an application for stay of execution of the judgment as well asking the Court for an injunction pending determination of the appeal.

“All parties to the suit are aware that both applications were heard on the 19th and 20th August 2021 and are awaiting the decision of the Court.

“Given that the Court of Appeal is yet to rule on the Appeal from the Judgement of Federal High Court and that the Federal High Court is yet to deliver a ruling on FIRS’s applications for stay of execution and injunction, members of the public are advised to continue to comply with their Value Added Tax obligations until the matter is resolved by the appellate courts,” it added.