On 30th July, 2020, the Federal Inland Revenue Service ("FIRS or the Service") issued a Public Notice informing taxpayers of its grant of further extension to the deadline for filing Companies Income Tax returns (CIT) by one week. Based on the FIRS's Notice, companies with 31 December year end can now submit their CIT returns which were due on 31st July, 2020 by 7th August, 2020. The due date for submitting regular monthly returns that fall due in July has also been extended by one week.
According to the Notice, the additional extension was granted in the spirit of the Eid-el-Kabir celebrations and in line with the FIRS's efforts to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on taxpayers in Nigeria. It would be recalled that the FIRS had previously extended the timeline for filing CIT returns by one month. (Read our tax alert on this here). This deadline has now been extended by an additional week for companies whose CIT returns were due on 31st July, 2020 (i.e. for companies with a 31st December, 2019 year-end). Thus, companies within the above category now have until Friday, 7th August, 2020 to file their CIT returns.
The Notice also states that the one-week extension will apply to regular monthly returns that fall due at the end of July 2020. These monthly returns include Value Added Tax (VAT), Withholding Tax (WHT) and Petroleum Profits Tax Instalment Payment returns.
The grant of additional time to submit tax returns by the FIRS is commendable given that some taxpayers were already concerned about the implication of the two day (30th and 31st July, 2020) public holidays on the extended filing date of 31st July, 2020 for the submission of CIT returns and the potential imposition of late filing penalty on returns submitted after the public holiday. Thus, the extended timeline provides an opportunity for taxpayers who were unable to meet the earlier deadline to now submit returns without the fear of incurring penalties for default. Given the additional extension, taxpayers who are yet to file their returns are advised to immediately engage their tax advisors and utilise the extended window to comply with their filing obligations.
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