COURT DECLARES RIVERS STATE GOVERNMENT, NOT FIRS, ENTITLED TO COLLECT VAT, RELATED TAXES IN RIVERS.
The Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has declared that it is the Rivers State Government and not the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), that should collect Valued Added Tax (VAT) and Personal Income Tax (PIT) in the State.
The court, presided over by Justice Stephen Dalyop Pam, has also issued an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Federal Inland Revenue Service and the Attorney General of the federation, both first and second defendants in the suit, from collecting, demanding, threatening and intimidating residents of Rivers State to pay to FIRS, personnel income tax and Value Added Tax.
Justice Pam made the assertion while delivering judgement in Suit No. FHC/PH/CS/149/2020, filed by the Attorney General for Rivers State (plaintiff), against the Federal Inland Revenue Service (first defendant) and the Attorney General of the Federation (second defendant).
The Court, which granted all the eleven reliefs sought by the Rivers State Government, stated that there is no constitutional basis for the FIRS to demand for and collect VAT, Withholding Tax, Education Tax and Technology levy in Rivers State or any other State of the Federation, being that the constitutional powers and competence of the Federal Government is limited to taxation of incomes, profits and capital gains which does not include VAT or any other species of sales, or levy other than those specifically mentioned in items 58 and 59 of the Exclusive Legislative List of the Constitution.
The judge dismissed the preliminary objections filed by the defendants that the Court lacks jurisdiction to hear the suit and that the case should be transferred to Court of Appeal for interpretation.
Justice Pam, who also dismissed objection raised by the defendants that the National Assembly ought to have been made a party in the suit, declared that the issues of taxes raised by the State government are issues of law that the court is constitutionally empowered to entertain.
He declared that after a diligent review of the issues raised by both the plaintiff and the defendants, the plaintiff has proven beyond doubt that it is entitled to all the eleven reliefs it sought in the suit.
The court agreed with the Rivers State Government that it is the State and not FIRS that is constitutionally entitled to impose taxes enforceable or collectable in its territory of the nature of consumption or sales tax, VAT, education Read More
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