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DEFINITION OF INCOME FOR THE PURPOSE OF TAX

Dictum

See Longsdon v. Minister of Pensions and National Insurance (1956) 1 ALL E.R. 83 defining “income” inter-alia as “that which comes in.” While Lord Chetwode v. IRC (1977) 1 ALL E.R. 638 held inter-alia that “income” means gross income as reduced for the purpose of tax assessment by deductions specified in the tax code. Consequently, any contractual transaction in which something of exchangeable worth proceeding from the property, severed from the capital, is drawn by the recipient for separate use or benefit is “income” – See Goodrich v. Edwards 255 U.S. 527 referred to in the authoritative work titled Encyclopedia of Taxation Law and Practice (First Edition) page 138 by Sir T.A. Nwamara, and 7up Bottling Company (supra) on the sugar transaction between the company and third parties which was held to attract WHT liability in that case.

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REVENUE PROVISIONS WILL BE CONSTRUED IN FAVOUR OF PUBLIC INTEREST

Let us not forget that the tax being scuffled over is the tax of the appellant’s employees from 2005-2010 which would have long time been deducted from the employees’ salaries but which the appellant failed to remit to the appropriate authority. The tax of 2011 to date has not yet become an issue. I must...

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PURPORT OF WITHHOLDING TAX

✓ Withholding Tax (WHT) or retention tax is really a term of art/generic expression (or sui generis) devised by tax authorities for tax administration through the method of deduction of tax at source from income including payments due to a benefiting party, by the paying party, for onward remittance to the appropriate tax authority of...

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TAX LAWS ARE STRICTLY OR NARROWLY INTERPRETED

Tax laws are strictly or narrowly interpreted from the bare words used in the enactment. There is no presumption or equity about a tax – See Ahmadu and Anor. v. The Governor of Kogi State and Ors. (2002) 3 NWLR (Pt. 755) 502 at 522 thus – “In a taxing legislation, one has to look...

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TAXES FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS EMPOWERED TO IMPOSE

I have stated the gravamen of the issues of the Appellant. In A.-G., Rivers State v. FIRS (unreported) (supra), this Court examined the provisions of Items 58 and 59 of Part 1 of the 2nd Schedule to the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and held that law has specifically designated the taxes that the Federal Government is empowered to impose and collect to the exclusion of other taxes like Value Added Tax, Withholding Tax, Education Tax, and Technology Tax. Earlier, this Court in Emmanuel Chukwuka Ukala, SAN v. A. – G., Fed. & Anor. (Unreported) (Supra) per Oshomah, J., had given a similar decision. In my candid opinion, these decisions have knocked the bottom off the decision of the TAT. It must be noted that these decisions are by Courts of Coordinate jurisdiction. They express the jurisprudence on the subject to my satisfaction and I am thereby persuaded. I have no reason therefore to make a conflicting decision to them. The Respondent ought to have been guided by the decision in Emmanuel Chukwuka Ukala, SAN v. A. G., Fed. & Anor. (Unreported) (Supra) being that it was decided on 12th December, 2020 long before the TAT gave its decision on 23rd June, 2021 per page 1038 of the Record.

— I.E. Ekwo, J. Daudu v FIRS (2023) – FHC/ABJ/TA/1/2021

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TAX IS LEVIED WHERE THE PERSON RESIDES

The issue here is that of Personal Income Tax provided for by the PITA 2015. The tax is levied where the person resides.

— I.E. Ekwo, J. Daudu v FIRS (2023) – FHC/ABJ/TA/1/2021

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SERVING NOTICE OF TAX ASSESSMENT ON THE TAX PAYER MUST BE DONE

In this regard, the case of Fasogbon v. Layande (1999) 11 NWLR (Pt. 6280) 543 becomes very apt, wherein it was held at pages 556 557 that: “From the steps that must be taken before the tax payable is evolved, to argue that serving notice of assessment on the tax payer is not part of the procedure under the decree is unthinkable. It is like a Romeo without a Juliet. In the realm of the law, to say that the tax payer who by operation of personal income tax is legally indebted to the tax authority for the assessed income tax is not informed of the assessment of the income tax payable would be an imposition, an arbitrary act that affects his civil rights and therefore infringes upon his civil rights and of fair hearing under Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

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