The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has clarified that Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) including non-governmental organisations and cooperative societies have responsibilities under the tax laws to fulfil their tax obligations irrespective of the nature of their operations.
The FIRS and the Joint Tax Board (JTB) in a webinar jointly organised by the FIRS and the European Union funded, British Council managed Agents for Citizen Driven Transformation (EU-ACT) Programme emphasised that CSOs have the responsibility to file tax returns and statement of affairs; adding that the tax authorities would demand payment of taxes from CSOs only when the CSOs were engaged in businesses and make profits from the business ventures.
The executive chairman of FIRS, Muhammad Nami, represented by the coordinating director, Compliance Support Group of FIRS, Dick Irri, in declaring the webinar open, said the FIRS would continue to partner with stakeholders such as the co-organisers of the programme in their drive to help educate taxpayers on their responsibilities.
The Director Tax Policy and Advisory Department of FIRS, Temitayo Orebajo in his presentation on tax obligation of CSOs refuted claims by some individuals that CSOs have no tax obligation.
“There is a penalty for CSOs for not filing and there is a penalty for late filing. Whether you (CSOs) have something to do or not, you have the responsibility to file. After one year you are registered, in order not to run foul of the law, you need to go and file at least your statement of affairs. It may be just one page document”, he said.
He noted that CSOs include organisations, institutions and companies engaged in ecclesiastical, charitable, benevolent, literary, scientific, social, cultural, sporting or educational activities of a public character.
“All CSOs are expected to register for tax purpose and obtain Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). The following documents are required for tax registration: A copy of the registration certificate issued by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) or any other instrument of registration; Certified True Copy (CTC) of memorandum and articles of association, constitution or rules and regulations governing the CSO; list and profiles of the Trustees/Board members nominated and other relevant documents”, he said.
Another panelist and deputy director of Tax Policy and Advisory Department in the webinar, Olatunji Olabode noted that CSOs should file returns and pay taxes (where applicable) at MTOs closest to them or use the TaxPro Max Solution. Mr. Olabode noted that with the introduction of TaxPro Max solution, CSOs can file returns and pay taxes from the comfort of their homes and offices.
Corroborating in his presentation, Orebajo noted: “NGOs are required to register for tax at designated FIRS Medium Tax Offices (MTOs) in their respective geopolitical zones. For Lagos: MTO Lagos Island; For North-Central: FCT MTO Abuja; for North-East and North-West: MTO Kano; South-East: MTO Enugu; for South-South: MTO Port Harcourt and for South-West: MTO Ibadan.”