The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) is seeking the establishment of a federal revenue court.
This is contained in a document sent to the house of representatives for consideration, the FIRS said federal revenue court would increase revenue generation for the cash-strapped Muhammadu Buhari-led government.
The bill is also seeking the removal of powers to adjudicate on tax matters from the federal high court.
Recently, a federal high court in Port Harcourt issued an order restraining the FIRS from collecting value-added tax (VAT) in Rivers state.
Despite appealing the ruling, there are reports how FIRS is allegedly lobbying lawmakers to include value-added tax (TAX) collection in the exclusive legislative list.
“The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) hereby proposes the insertion of Section 254G to 254L in the 1999 Constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria (FRN) to provide for the establishment of Federal Revenue Court (FRC), the appointment of chief judge (FRC), power to make rules for the proceedings of the (FRC) and the Appointment of judges of the (FRC), Exclusive Jurisdiction of (FRC) on Federal Tax Matters,” the proposed bill reads.
“The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) further proposes for the amendment of Section 251(1). (b) of the Constitution of FIN 1999 (Amended) by removing the exclusive jurisdiction of Federal High court only on anything connected or related to Federal tax matters since same would be vested on the proposed Federal Revenue Court.
“The FIRS, therefore, wishes to further request that the House of Representatives consider the request for the establishment of Federal Revenue Court for the reason stated above.”
FIRS stated that the revenue court can replicate the success story of the tax appeal tribunal (TAT), which had handled over 500 tax related cases since its inception in 2019 with values such as N75.8 billion between 2010—2016 and N381,013,087,914,25, $14,779,158.07, EUR – 585,511.00 GBP – 11,145.00, and ZAR 644,857.00 between 2018 and 2020.
The agency said the new federal revenue court would be modelled along the Federal Revenue Court Decree No, 13, 1973 established during the military regime of Yakubu Gowon.
“Historically, the Federal Revenue Court was established by the promulgation of the Federal Revenue Court Decree No, 13, 1973. However-, the enactment of Section 228(1) and 230(1) of the 1979 Constitution renamed the Revenue Court to Federal High Court, this was further replicated in the Federal High Court Decree (Amendment) 1991 Cap (60) LFN now referred to as Federal High Court (amended)- Act 2000 Cap F12 LFN revised edition 2010,” the proposal reads.
“This amended Section 7 of the Federal High Court Act, (1991); and conferred Exclusive Jurisdiction on the Federal-High Court in relation to tax matters amongst others.
“Section 228(1) and 230(1) was further re-enacted as Section 251. (1) (a) to (s) of the Constitution of FRN 1999.”