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National Assembly passes Finance Bill to Buhari for assent

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The National Assembly has sent the Tax and Fiscal Law (Amendment), also known as the Finance Bill to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent.

The president had earlier transmitted the bill to the National Assembly as part of the plans to increase the revenue required to fund the 2020 budget. The bill aims to amend the Petroleum Profit Tax Act, Personal Income Tax Act, Company Income Tax Act, Customs and Excise Tariff Act, Capital Gains Tax, Value Added Tax and Stamp Duties Act.

According to reports, a source at the presidency confirmed that the bill was received on Friday.

“It was transmitted today (Friday). Relevant stakeholders worked all night to ensure that the Presidency gets it today before lawmakers will embark on Christmas and New Year break,” said the official.

The bill, once signed into law, will exempt Nigerians desirous of opening and maintaining accounts with Deposit Money Banks from presenting their Tax Identification Number (TIN).

The Federal Government has upped the threshold from which stamp duty will be charged for online transactions from N1,000 to N10,000.

Equally, firms that pay their taxes not less than 90 days before the due date may get bonus of between one and two per cent.

James Faleke, Chairman of the House Committee on Finance, identified the merits of the amendment to the economy.

“Small businesses with turnover less than N25m to be exempted from Companies Income Tax; a lower CIT rate of 20 per cent to apply to medium-sized companies with turnover between N25m and N100m.

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“Commencement and cessation rules modified to eliminate overlaps and gaps to avoid double taxation and complication during commencement; minimum tax provisions amended to 0.5 per cent of turnover and exemption only apply to small companies (less than N25m turnover), so non-resident companies will now pay minimum tax.

“Insurance companies can now carry forward tax losses indefinitely, deduct reserve for unexpired risks on time apportionment bases, while special minimum tax for insurance has been abolished,” he observed.

On 21 November, 2019, the Senate had passed the bill while the House of Representatives passed it on 28 November, 2019. The two chambers had been compelled to combine the versions they passed independently.

Last week, a planned joint hearing by the Senate and House of Representatives had failed following a rift between the chambers, causing the former to boycott the session. However, the House of Representatives held a separate public hearing regarding the bill.

The senate panel held the public hearing and on Thursday presented its report, which was considered and passed the same day.

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