The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, on Tuesday, 21st May 2019, has for the umpteenth time held that only members of the CITN can practice taxation in Nigeria pursuant to the relevant provisions of the CITN Act.
This was the outcome of the suit instituted in 2018 by five members of ICAN by way of originating summons challenging the authority of FIRS to recognise the power of CITN to regulate the tax profession in Nigeria in all its ramifications.
The Court further held that Regulation 5 of the Tax Administration (Self-Assessment) Regulations, 2011, which purports to allow members of ICAN, ANAN, and CITN to co-jointly file tax returns on behalf of taxpayers, where taxpayers opt to hire tax agents for reward, was in conflict with the extant provisions of the CITN Act.
Consequently, the Court dismissed the suit of the plaintiffs and awarded cost of N200,000 in favour of the defendants.
This decision is a re-affirmation of the decisions of the Lagos State High Court in 2007 and the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, in 2013, re-stating that only CITN can regulate taxation, and only its members can practice taxation in Nigeria. FIRS, therefore, acted legally vide its letter to the CITN of 23rd April 2018, which stated that only CITN stamp and seal will be recognised by FIRS, with effect from 2nd January 2019, for the purpose of filing tax returns in FIRS.
The Institute will issue further releases after its legal team obtains the certified true copy of the judgement.
This decision has in no way encumbered the about 10,000 ICAN members in CITN from practising taxation. Its only result is that those ICAN members, who are not members of the CITN, cannot practice taxation or file tax returns until they become chartered CITN members.