The Lagos Zone of the Tax Appeal Tribunal has ordered Contained Energy Services Ltd to pay the Lagos State Board of Internal Revenue the sum #24,792,954.98 (Twenty-Four Million, Seven Hundred and Ninety-Two Thousand and Nine Hundred and Fifty-Four Naira, Ninety-Eight kobo) only as Tax Assessment obligation and interest covering the period of 2011-2016.
The panel led by Professor A.B Ahmed held that Contained Energy Services Ltd never remitted any amount deducted from the emoluments of her employees for the relevant periods and as such, the assessed taxes should attract the due penalty and interest.
From facts, the Appellant- Lagos State Board of Internal Revenue had submitted that Contained Energy Services Ltd was served a Notice of Assessment accompanied by a Demand Notice of its established liability for Personal Income Tax, Withholding Taxes, Development Levies, and Business Premises Renewal covering the period of 2011-2016 in the sum of #24,792,954.98 (Twenty-Four Million, Seven Hundred and Ninety-Two Thousand, Nine Hundred and Fifty-Four Naira Ninety-Eight Kobo).
In addition, following its objection to the assessment, the firm refused to attend the Tax Audit Reconciliation Committee meeting nor provide the requested documents, as a result of which a Notice of Refusal to Amend (NORA) tax assessments was sent and the assessed sum be paid within 7 days from the date of the receipt of the letter.
The firm up to date refused to pay the assessed liability, neither did it appeal against it, urged the Tribunal to grant all the reliefs sought.
However, despite the request of the firm to go into settlement discussion which was not objected to by the Appellant, the firm deliberately refused to appear nor were they represented at all the sittings of the Tribunal, with clear evidence that all the processes, especially the hearing notices were served on them.
The tribunal In its considered decision at a panel headed by Prof. A. B. Ahmed as Chairman, P. A. Olayemi, Babatunde Sobamomo, Samuel Ohwerttoye, and Terzungwe Gbakighir as members after careful evaluation of the submission of the Lagos State Revenue Service held that a tax assessment becomes final and conclusive when the taxpayer losses the right to question or challenge the amount of tax imposed due to his failure to carry out some steps within a given time.
The Chairman ruled that the Lagos State Board of Internal Revenue has fulfilled all the statutory and procedural conditions to enable the Honorable Tribunal grant the relief sought.
On whether the Respondent should be liable to pay penalty and interest for failure to deduct ad/or remit PAYE, WHT, State Development Levy, and Business Premises Levy for the stated period, the tribunal held that the prescribed time for remitting PAYE tax is 10 days after the end of any month as provided in Paragraph 8 of the Operation of PAYE Scheme Regulations.
“Where an employer fails to comply with this provision, such an employer shall immediately be liable to penalty and interest thereon.”