FIRS In Fresh Push For Churches, Mosques To Pay Tax

The Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, has told operators of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), which includes religious bodies that Nigeria’s tax laws do not exempt them from paying tax.

“Nigerian tax laws do not necessarily exempt NGOs from paying taxes. Rather they recognise NGOs as basically no-for-profit entities, which are therefore exempted from paying Income Tax. Where, however, an NGO engages in activities from which it derives profits, then it will be required to pay taxes on such profits, like any other profit-making entity,” said Alh. Kabir Mashi, FIRS Acting Executive Chairman, at a sensitization meeting in Abuja, yesterday.

According to Mashi, who was represented by the Coordinating Director of Modernisation, Mr. Osy Chuke, the only tax from which such organizations were exempted was Income Tax. However, if they got involved in activities that yielded profit, taxes had to be paid to the federal government from such profits and that personal income taxes of their staff had to be paid to the government.

“Also, other than income taxes, NGOs are not exempted from paying taxes such as Value Added Tax (VAT), on goods and services. They are also required to deduct and pay over Personal Income Tax from the salaries and allowances paid to their employees, amongst others,” he said.

A Medium Tax Office has therefore been opened in Abuja to handle NGOs’ tax issues.

Coordinating Director, Field Operations Group, Mr. Ajayi Bamidele, who spoke earlier at the meeting noted that NGOs were exempted from some taxes, in recognition of their contributions in the society, but some operators mistook the exemptions to cover all taxes.

“It was found that there is little awareness about tax obligations of NGOs in Nigeria, even where these NGOs carry out business activities.

“There is this erroneous belief among operators that as tax exempt organizations, they are exempted from all tax obligations, including filing of returns.

“This assumption is not correct and I think this is what led to the proliferation of organizations doing business but registered as NGOs in all manners of human endeavours in Nigeria,” Bamidele said.

The sensitization meeting is expected to have shed more light on why the FIRS have been pushing for religious bodies and other NGOs to pay tax, and the kind of tax they need to pay.

4 COMMENTS

  1. What activities do churches get involved in? How has mosque become a shop? That they are expected to pay tax?

    If anyone founds any profit making entity like school, buy and sell arenas, for that we know there is need for tax. But for normal congregating bodies, where people drop what they like as ‘tithe and offering’, no tax is attached. Tax for what business? If govt is hungry of cash is it mosque and church that are next to devour?

    Thesame gatherings of people that have suffered thousands of losses of souls and valuable properties in the hands of terrorists while govt watched?

    Thesame congregations that dont get allocations or assistance for govt even when they encounter troubles from BH?

    Some individuals will be so zealous, serving govt., and end up becoming anti-God. Better think well.

  2. What activities do churches get involved in? How has mosque become a shop? That they are expected to pay tax?

    If anyone founds any profit making entity like school, buy and sell arenas, for that we know there is need for tax. But for normal congregating bodies, where people drop what they like as ‘tithe and offering’, no tax is attached. Tax for what business? If govt is hungry of cash is it mosque and church that are next to devour?

    Thesame gatherings of people that have suffered thousands of losses of souls and valuable properties in the hands of terrorists while govt watched?

    Thesame congregations that dont get allocations or assistance for govt even when they encounter troubles from BH?

    Some individuals will be so zealous, serving govt., and end up becoming anti-God. Better think well.

    Remember that thesame members of these bodies do pay their taxes before coming together and from the after tax cash in their hands, they are paying to help build the churches and mosques. So how many taxes does govt want na?

  3. I agree with the FIRS. When u say churches are taxed it’s not on the tithe and offerings paid by members. Some churches own Publishing Firms, Printing Press, Construction companies, Universities, etc. We know that private universities have the higest school fees in Nigeria. The Printing press isn’t just for free. These churches make huge profits but hide under the umbrella of running these businesses in the name of the Lord and the church and since we are the most religious people in the world nobody wants to challenge anything that is associated with religion.

  4. I agree with the FIRS. When u say churches are taxed it’s not on the tithe and offerings paid by members. Some churches own Publishing Firms, Printing Press, Construction companies, Universities, etc. We know that private universities have the higest school fees in Nigeria especially the ones owned by these churches. The Printing press isn’t just for free. These churches make huge profits but hide under the umbrella of running these businesses in the name of the Lord and the church and since we are the most religious people in the world nobody wants to challenge anything that is associated with religion.

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