The Federal Inland Revenue Services “FIRS” on April 29, 2020 released an information circular to clarify the amendment of the Stamp Duties Act by the Finance Act 2019.
Section 2 of the Stamp Duties Act was amended to expand the scope of instrument liable to stamp duties to include “electronic documents”.
It listed instruments and receipts liable for stamp duty as the following:
- All written or printed dutiable instruments or receipts;
- All electronic dutiable instruments or receipts (i.e. in the form of electronic media content, electronic documents or files, e-mails, short message service (sms), instant messages (IM), any internet-based messaging service, website or cloud-based platform, etc);
- All printed receipts (including POS receipts, fiscalised device receipts, Automated Teller Machine (ATM) print-outs and other forms of written or printed acknowledgment);
- All electronically generated receipts and any form of electronic acknowledgement of money for dutiable transactions.
- When a transaction is carried out using any of this means stated above, the person involved is to self-declare for stamp duties by making use of the E-Platform.
- Where agreements are drafted and executed online without physical documents to evidence it, such documents are regarded as an electronic document which stamp duty is applicable. FIRS require such document to be stamped via electronic tagging, electronic stamp or electronic acknowledgment for denoting the appropriate fees.
If stamped in this manner, it requires no further stamping. As such, an electronic document is duly stamped where all duties chargeable on the document has been paid or a certificate or acknowledgement is issued for it or the appropriate electronic impression or denotation is tagged thereon.
Type of Stamps
- Employing a die impressed on an instrument as an adhesive stamp;
- Affixing printed adhesive stamps (issued by the Service) on instruments;
- Direct electronic printing or impression on the instrument;
- Electronic tagging;
- Issuance of stamp duties certificate.
- Any other form of acknowledgement of payment for stamp duties adopted by the Service.
Electronic Document Received in Nigeria
- You must present electronic documents executed outside Nigeria but received in Nigeria for stamping within: a) 10days in the case of Charter Parties; b) 30days in the case of instruments subject of ad valorem stamp duties; or c) 21days in any other instance.
- An electronic document executed outside Nigeria is received in Nigeria if: a) it is retrieved or accessed in or from Nigeria; b)it is stored on a device such as a computer, magnetic storage, etc. and brought into Nigeria; or c) it is stored on a device or computer in Nigeria.
- The FIRS is the competent authority to charge and collect duties upon instruments relating to transactions or matters executed between corporate bodies or between a corporate body and an individual, group or body of individuals.
- The relevant State tax authority shall collect duties in respect of instruments executed between individuals
Banks as Collection Agents
Banks and other financial institutions are required to charge appropriate stamp duties on:
- all intra-bank deposits and transfers from N10,000 and above except where the deposit or transfer occur between two accounts maintained by the same person in the same bank;
- all inter-bank deposits and transfers from N10,000 and above involving accounts owned by the same person in different banks; and
- all inter-bank deposits and transfers from N10,000 and above involving accounts owned by different persons.
How to Comply
FIRS operates a portal for automated Stamp Duties collection (www.stampduty.gov.ng) where all stamp duties paying citizens, government agencies, institutions, private organizations, should log into and pay stamp duties.
Failure to Comply?
- Prosecution for offences under the Act
- Payment of penalties of various degrees
- Inability to use the relevant instrument as evidence in court or other judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings.
- Enforcement actions, etc.
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