The Federal Court of Justice in Port Harcourt has stated that it is not the place of the Federal Tax Office to collect VAT, VAT, and income tax, PITA.
In a lawsuit brought by the Rivers State government, the court, presided over by Judge Stephen Dalyop Pam, also issued an injunction granting the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Federation Attorney General to both the first and second defendants , are withheld in the lawsuit from collecting, demanding, threatening and intimidating residents of Rivers State into paying FIRS personnel income tax and sales tax.
The court, which granted all eleven relief requests requested by the Rivers state government, found that there is no constitutional basis for FIRS to charge and collect sales tax, withholding tax, education tax, and technology levy in the state of Rivers or any other state in the United States Confederation, since the constitutional powers and responsibilities of the Confederation are limited to the taxation of income, profits and capital gains that are neither value added tax nor other types of turnover or other than those in paragraphs 58 and 59 of the Exclusive Legislative List of the Constitution.
The judge rejected the defendants’ preliminary objections that the court did not have jurisdiction to rule on the lawsuit and that the case should be referred to the appellate court for interpretation.
Judge Pam, who also dismissed the defendants’ objection that the National Assembly should have been a party to the lawsuit, stated that the tax issues raised by the state government are legal issues that the court has constitutional power to deal with.
He stated that after carefully examining the issues raised by the plaintiff and defendants, the plaintiff had demonstrated beyond any doubt that she was entitled to all eleven appeals she sought in the lawsuit.
The court agreed with the Rivers State government that the state, and not FIRS, is constitutionally entitled to collect enforceable or recoverable taxes in its territory in the form of excise or sales taxes, sales taxes, education taxes, and other taxes or duties, except taxes and duties, which are expressly reserved for the Federal Government in points 58 and 59 of the first part of the second annex to the 1999 constitution, as amended.
The court also stated that the defendants have no constitutional authority to collect or impose any duty, fee, or fee (in any form or under whatever name) on residents of Rivers state, or even any state.
Among the reliefs requested by the government of the state of Rivers was a statement that the federal government’s constitutional power to collect taxes and duties only applies to those listed in items 58 and 59 of Part 1 of the second list of the 1999 Constitution Points is restricted as changed.
The Rivers State government also asked the court to state that the federal government’s power to collect taxes can only be exercised by the state government or any other state agency and not by any other person.
The state government had also requested the court to determine that all statutory provisions made or allegedly made in the exercise of the legislative powers of the federal government, which contain provisions incompatible with or exceeding the levying of taxes and duties, as well as those in Articles 58 and 59 of Part I. of the second annex of the 1999 Constitution, or contradicts the power to delegate the duty to collect taxes under Articles 7 and 8 of the second part of the second annex of the Constitution, are unconstitutional, void.
Rivers state attorney in charge, Donald Chika Denwigwe (SAN), who spoke to journalists after the court session, said the case was about interpreting the constitution in relation to state and federal government powers, collect certain income, especially VAT.
“So, while the matter was being resolved, some legal issues were raised, such as whether or not the case should be referred to the appeals court for clarification of some issues.
“The court found that the motion is like asking the Federal Court of Justice to transfer the entire case to the Higher Regional Court. In this case, if the court decides, there is nothing left to refer back to the Federal Court of Justice in accordance with the constitution. “
According to Denwigwe, the court refused this prayer and decided that the case was in its right place before the Federal Court of Justice and was to be decided.
Regarding the impact of the ruling, Denwigwe said it was now illegal to collect taxes such as sales tax in the state of Rivers from a federal government agency.
“In summary, it is a statement that it is wrong that the federal government levies taxes, the levying of which is constitutionally reserved for the state governments. The ruling implies that the government (federal and state) as the constitutional authority should be advised by the ruling that it is the duty of all government agencies to abide by and obey the law as long as the court has interpreted it and said what this law is is.
“In other words, the issue of Rivers State Value Added Tax (VAT) and income tax should be left to the Rivers State Government.”
FIRS advisor, OC Eyibo, said he would study the ruling and advise his client.
Caption: Donald Chika Denwigwe, SAN (center) senior attorney for the Rivers state government, and Ken CO Njemanze, SAN (left) inform journalists after the Port Harcourt Federal Court of Justice ruled that FIRS ‘VAT collection in Rivers state was unconstitutional on Monday .Follow us on social media