The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has released an official statement which says Nigerians would now be required to pay stamp duty on WhatsApp messages, SMS, and messages via any electronic platform acknowledging receipt of funds.
According to the statement which was released in April, such duty will be paid on “POS receipts, fiscalised device receipts, Automated Teller Machine (ATM) print-outs”.
FIRS gave illustrations of situations where Nigerians are expected to pay stamp duties, one of them says: “ABZ Ltd’s chief accounting officer, after receiving a cash payment of N500,000 from Mr. XYZ on behalf of ABZ Ltd., composed a message which reads: ‘receipt of N500,000 is hereby acknowledged’ and sent same to Mr. XYZ via WhatsApp messenger”.
“In this case, the WhatsApp message acknowledging the receipt of N500,000 constitutes a receipt for which stamp duty is payable.
“Mr XYZ is required to make a disclosure of the details of the transaction using FIRS e-stamp duty platform or to the relevant stamp duties Commissioner. This will lead to assessment and payment of appropriate stamp duties and a consequential issuance of a stamp duty certificate or an acknowledgement.
“Such certificate or acknowledgement will suffice as evidence that stamp duties have been paid and that the electronic receipt has been stamped appropriately.”
The agency adds that “all electronic dutiable instruments or receipts”, including e-mails, short message service (sms), instant messages (IM), any internet-based messaging service, are subject to stamp duty.