By CrossRiverWatch Admin
A Tax Appeal Tribunal sitting in Benin, the Edo State capital, has ordered Union Bank Plc to pay the Cross River Internal Revenue Service (CRIRS) the total sum of NGN56.672,908.72 as outstanding withholding tax on interest expenses, penalty and interest thereon.
The bank had on November 4th 2019, filed an appeal before the tribunal, contending among other things, that an assessment carried out by the CRIRS while relying on the Personnel Income Tax Act (PITA), 2011 as amended, was excessive and arbitrary, and that it is ultra vires the powers of the tax authority to demand records and documents, including the nationwide data of the appellants’ customers not within the tax jurisdiction.
But, the Tribunal in its November 11, 2020 ruling held that a tax payer cannot withhold any requested information from the tax authority on the grounds of confidentiality and upheld the additional assessment Notice of Witholding Tax on interest payment served by the revenue board on Union Bank.
Upholding the respondent’s assessment notice, the tribunal held that sections 46, 47, 49, 55, and 58 of PITA as amended, does not limit the tax authority to call for any particular kind of information, but such documents and information as the relevant tax authority may seem necessary, therefore it was not the tax payer’s place to determine which information is relevant or not.
The tribunal also held that the law has mandated tax payers to release information on request by the tax authority and that the tax authority is empowered to call for information as often as possible.
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