Court declares collection of VAT by Federal Government as illegal

The Federal High Court, sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has declared the collection of Value-Added Tax (VAT) and Personal Income Tax by the Federal Government as illegal and unconstitutional.

The suit, which is between the Attorney-General for Rivers State and Federal Inland Revenue Service, (FIRS), as the first defendant and the Attorney General of the federation, Abubakar Malami, as the second defendant.

The court decided in favour of the Rivers State, ruling that it is the rightful arm to receive personal income tax and VAT originating from the State.

The presiding judge, Stephen Pam,  issued an order of perpetual injunction limiting FIRS and the Attorney-General from coercing residents of Rivers State to pay VAT and personal income tax to the FIRS.

The judge ruled that the Federal Government’s constitutional powers did not include VAT collection, but those items in 58 and 59 of the Exclusive Legislative List.

The court declared that the FIRS was not entitled to receiving VAT, education tax, technology levy and withholding tax from any State in Nigeria and further dismissed the objections the defendant filed that hearing the case was not within the court’s jurisdiction.

The judge also dismissed the defendant’s plea for the case to be transferred to the Court of Appeal for interpretation.

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