More Knocks Than Kudos Greet Buhari’s Finance Bill As 7.5% VAT Takes Off

Nigerians on social media on Tuesday criticised President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the Finance Bill into law which among other things, implemented the upward review of 5 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT).

Others, however, also supported the move, insisting that Nigeria can only make steady progress by being weaned off its dependence on oil.

Many Nigerians took to their Twitter handles to express their views about the news:

It would be recalled that yesterday, Monday, January 13, President Buhari signed the Finance Bill into law.

With the signing of the Finance Bill, early-stage startups with revenues of N25 million ($68,900), would no longer have to pay the requires company income tax (CIT).

For medium scale businesses with revenues between N25 million and N100 million, a 20 per cent CIT will be required, instead of the standard 30 per cent which will now only be for large scale companies with revenues above N100 million ($277,000).

The Bill also incentivises investments so that shareholders may be encouraged to invest more in small and early-stage startups, knowing that there would be enough wiggle room for taxes in the growth period.

Also, startup/SME employees who have managed to avoid paying taxes may soon find it difficult to escape as a result of the new bill.

Besides the changes to company income tax, the bill will also implement changes to the personal income tax as a tax identification number (TIN) will now be compulsory for anyone to operate a bank account.

Last year, the FIRS revealed plans to begin charging 5 per cent Value-added Tax (VAT) on online transactions for VATable items starting from 2020. With the change in the FIRS chairman, the fate of that plan remains up in the air.

However, if it is implemented, it could change the face of e-commerce in Nigeria, since according to the Finance Bill, the said VAT would no longer be 5 per cent but 7.5 per cent on all VATable items for online transactions.

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