Tribunal Orders Union Bank To Pay Cross River IRS N56.6m

Posted on November 27, 2020

The Cross River Internal Revenue Service (CRIRS) has won a case brought against it by Union Bank Plc before the Tax Appeal Tribunal (South-South zone) sitting in Benin.

The Chairman of CRIRS, Mr Akpanke Ogar said in a statement that the Tribunal had ruled on November 11, 2020, that the relevant tax authority can request any information it deems fit from a tax payer, and it is not tax payer’s place to determine which information is relevant or not.

The Tribunal ruled that Union Bank Plc should pay CRIRS the total sum of N56.672,908.72 as outstanding withholding tax on interest expenses, penalty and interest thereon.

The Chairman of the tribunal, Prof Obehi Odiase-Alegimenlen virtue of relevant provisions of PITA, 2011 (as amended) a tax payer cannot withhold any requested information from the tax authority on the grounds of confidentiality.

The Appeal Tribunal therefore upheld the additional assessment Notice of Witholding Tax on interest payment served by the Cross River Internal Revenue Service on Union Bank Plc.

Union Bank Plc had on November 4, 2019, filed an appeal before the tribunal, contending among other things, that the assessment is excessive and arbitrary, and that it is ultra vires the powers of the tax authority to demand records and documents, including the nationwide data of the appellants’ customers not within the tax jurisdiction.

In upholding the respondent’s assessment notice, the tribunal held that the law in sections 46, 47, 49, 55, and 58 of the Personal Income Tax Act (PITA) (as amended) does not limit the tax authority to call for any particular kind of information, but such documents and information as the relevant tax authority may seem necessary.

The tribunal further held that it is not in the place of the appellant to determine for the tax authority which information is relevant or not unless such demands conflict with statutory rights of the tax payer of the extant provision of the law.

The tribunal also held that the law has mandated tax payers to release information on request by the tax authority and that the tax authority is empowered to call for information as often as possible.

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