Nigeria: Govt Begins Review of Tax Appeal Tribunal Rules

Abuja — Indications have emerged that the federal government is now set to review the laws of Tax Appeal Tribunal (TAT), a special tribunal that adjudicates over tax related conflicts.

LEADERSHIP exclusively gathered that a committee has been set up to review the existing rules and develop draft rules for consideration for the tribunal.

A source who was at a 2-day retreat of the tribunal in Abuja recently, said that a draft case flow management manual was also considered and it was resolved that the tax appeal commissioners would review it and revert with their position.

"The Rules of the Tax Appeal Tribunal were also considered. It was resolved that a draft would be developed and shared to the zones for thorough discussion. Issues like power to award costs, power of enforcement are to be considered for inclusion in the Rules," the source told our correspondent in Abuja.

"The TAT is to set up rules review committee of the Tribunal to review the TAT rules and make recommendations for consideration," he said.

The zonal commissioners and stakeholders who were present at the retreat said there is a need for periodic consolidation of the provisions of the tax laws and extant legislation to ensure that we do not have disparate legislation covering the same subject for the purpose of ease of doing business, adjudication of tax disputes, and taxpayers' education.

LEADERSHIP gathered that those at the retreat including TAT's coordinating Secretary, all zonal chairmen and commissioners as well as the staff of the coordinating Secretariat, and zonal Secretaries have resolved to approach the approving authorities of the federal government to make the Tribunal a special court to adjudicate over tax disputes.

"The need for the autonomy of the TAT was canvassed and it was proposed that it should ultimately evolve into a specialized tax court," the communique which was exclusively obtained by our correspondent read in part.

TAT management however failed to account for its activities in the year-ended-2020. The tradition has been that the Tribunal provides details of the numbers of disputes successfully resolved, those that are pending and their monetary value. When our correspondent asked for the information, he was simply told the collation of 2020 case files has not been completed, five months into 2021.

The audience also resolved that provisions for appropriate alternative dispute resolution mechanisms have to be considered for incorporation into the TAT rules within the permissible laws.

With the growth in electronic commerce and digital transactions, stakeholders called for intensive training to develop the capacity of the TAT chairmen and commissioners in emerging areas of taxation through qualitative training programmes.

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