Relief as FG delays implementation of TIN requirement for bank accounts - THE NEW DAWN ONLINE


Sunday, December 22, 2019

Relief as FG delays implementation of TIN requirement for bank accounts

Succour has come the way of corporate entities with Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed saying that government will delay implementation of aspects of the Finance Bill 2019 after it is eventually signed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

A contentious aspect of the Bill is a requirement for banks to obtain Tax Identification Number (TIN) from corporate customers as a pre-condition for opening or maintaining bank accounts.

At a press conference in Abuja, Ahmed explained that before the implementation of requirements for the presentation of TIN for opening and maintaining a bank account, the government would have to engage banks on the modality for implementation.

Although this requirement is not new, the proposed amendment would give a legal basis to the practice.

She said, “until the finance bill is assented to law, the measures we have to take are just plans for now.

“But we are confident that within this week, Mr President will have this bill from the National Assembly and he will formally ask various ministries to review and advise him before he signs.

“Our target is that we start the work on January 1, 2020. I am not saying that every provision in the Finance Bill will take effect from January.

“We have seen in the papers where people say from January 1, you can’t operate your account without TIN number.

“It does not work that way. That is where we have to engage the commercial banks. The FIRS will engage the commercial banks and work out a modality of how this will be implemented.”

From our sources, the TIN requirement will not be extended to individual accounts.

Ahmed said the Finance Bill has about 83 modifications, adding that several of these amendments are meant to improve the business environment, especially the small and medium scale businesses.

The Bill both sets the tone for Nigeria’s fiscal policy for 2020 and seeks to promote fiscal equity, align domestic laws with global best practices, and support Micro, Small and Medium-sized businesses.

It also aims to increase government revenues, raise investments in both real sector and capital market through the introduction of incentives.

Also in the Bill is a modification of the Stamp Duty Act, which increased the threshold for the collection of N50 on every N1,000 transaction to N10,000 while also expanding the definition of receipt to cover electronic transactions.

It amended the Customs and Excise Tariffs etc. (Consolidation) Act (CETCA) such that once assented to, excise duties will now be paid on goods imported to Nigeria as opposed to a situation where many companies relocated to neighbouring countries and avoided such obligations.

The Bill proposes to expand the scope and rate of value-added tax (VAT).

Henceforth, consumers will pay 7.5 per cent VAT on goods and services instead of the current five per cent.

Likewise, the Bill proposes to redefine the words “goods” and “services” in the VAT Act in such a way to include dividend payment.

Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) will benefit from the new Finance Bill as they will no longer be required to pay companies income tax (CIT).

It categorises companies into SMEs, medium enterprises and large enterprises based on their turnover.

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