Nigeria: FIRS Mulls Charges On ATMs, Whatsapp

2 June 2020

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has said Nigerians will pay stamp duties on WhatsApp messages, SMS, and messages via any electronic platform acknowledging receipt of funds.

The revenue service, according to a report by TheCable, also stated that stamp duties would be paid on "POS receipts, fiscalised device receipts, Automated Teller Machine (ATM) print-outs".

According to a circular published by the agency, Nigerians will also be required to pay stamp duties on SMS acknowledging receipt of funds.

FIRS gave illustrations of situations where Nigerians are expected to pay stamp duties, one of them says: "ABZ Ltd's chief accounting officer, after receiving a cash payment of N500,000 from Mr. XYZ on behalf of ABZ Ltd., composed a message which reads: 'receipt of N500,000 is hereby acknowledged' and sent same to Mr. XYZ via WhatsApp messenger.

"In this case, the WhatsApp message acknowledging the receipt of N500,000 constitutes a receipt for which stamp duty is payable.

"Mr XYZ is required to make a disclosure of the details of the transaction using FIRS e-stamp duty platform or to the relevant stamp duties Commissioner. This will lead to assessment and payment of appropriate stamp duties and a consequential issuance of a stamp duty certificate or an acknowledgement.

"Such certificate or acknowledgement will suffice as evidence that stamp duties have been paid and that the electronic receipt has been stamped appropriately."

The agency adds that "all electronic dutiable instruments or receipts", including e-mails, short message service (sms), instant messages (IM), any internet-based messaging service, are subject to stamp duty.

The circular, issued in April, clearly stated that "all printed receipts" and "all electronically generated receipts and any form of electronic acknowledgement of money for dutiable transactions" are liable to duty payment.

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