About 209 cases worth over N6tn are currently pending at the various zones of the Tax Appeal Tribunal across the country.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mahmoud Dutse, said this at the inauguration of commissioners for the Tax Appeal Tribunal.
The breakdown of the N6tn pending cases across the six geo-political zones where the Tax Appeal Tribunal offices are located are $18.80bn, N205.65bn and €0.821m.
Dutse said most of the pending cases involved multinational companies, adding that the issues for determination were highly technical and painstaking.
The tribunal is one of the windows provided in Nigeria’s tax administration system which offers an aggrieved party the opportunity to explore other dispute resolution mechanisms before gaining access to the law courts.
Among other things, it helps to reduce the caseload of the over-laden regular courts by providing less formal fora for quicker, cheaper and expert resolution of tax disputes in the public interest.
The Tax Appeal Tribunal was established pursuant to Section 59 (I) and the Fifth Schedule of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act, 2007.
The Tribunal formally commenced operations in July 2010, following the inauguration of the pioneer commissioners.
Dutse said the Tax Appeal Commissioners that were inaugurated on Monday were the second set since the establishment of the tribunal.
He said based on a review of the activities of the tribunal, a total of 489 new appeals had been filed at the respective zones of the tribunal between June 2010 and September 2018.
He said so far, 409 appeals had been concluded within the same period.
He said, “As of the end of the third quarter of 2018, the report shows that a total number of 209 appeals amounting to about $18.80bn, N205.65bn and €0.821m are pending across the zones.
“Interestingly, from the trend of activities at the zones in the past years, it is anticipated that following the reconstitution of the zonal offices of the tribunal, additional new cases will be filed; which will further increase the caseload.
“Most of the pending cases involve multinational companies and issues for determination are highly technical and painstaking. Therefore, you are expected to hit the ground running immediately after inauguration.”
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, who inaugurated members of the tribunal, said the expectations of all stakeholders were high.
The finance minister said the government’s desire to achieve a sustainable growth and development of the economy had informed efforts to reform the Nigerian tax system.
One of the outcomes of the series of reforms, according to her, is the strengthening of the appeal process and creation of the Tax Appeal Tribunal by the Federal Government in 2010.
“Undoubtedly, the establishment of the tribunal marked a very significant milestone in the annals of our nation’s tax dispute resolution mechanism.
“One of the key objectives of the government in setting up the tribunal is to reduce the incidence of tax evasion and improve the taxpayers’ confidence.
“Others include the need to ensure fairness and transparency of the tax administration and to minimise delays and bottlenecks in the adjudication of tax disputes,” she added.