The Finance Bill currently passed by NASS amends sections 33, 49 & 58 of the Personal Income Tax Act. Specifically, these amendments cover the deletion of provisions that grants certain personal reliefs and also the deductibility of Pension contributions.
The amendment of the PITA that appears to have caught the interest of many is the provision that henceforth, individuals would be required to produce their Tax Identification Numbers (TINs) before they can operate new or existing bank accounts in Nigeria.
According to the Minister of Finance Mrs Zainab Ahmed, the bill when signed into law will take effect from the 2nd of Jan 2020.
This means that there is the likelihood that banks will start asking customers to provide their TIN from that date.
This has the potential of disrupting the normal flow of business activities as we can imagine that bank ATM cards of those who have not compiled will not work and withdrawals or deposits can’t be made.
In other not to shut down the system, there’s likely to be a grace period that will be given to allow individuals to obtain the TIN. How long this “Grace Period” would be is any one’s guess. But if you have a bank account, it is important that you pay attention and ensure you are ready and not caught off-guard.
It must however be stated that this will not be an issue for Corporate Accounts because the provision of TIN is already a mandatory requirement for operating Corporate Accounts.
Employees and Consultants
If you are an employee of an organization that remits PAYE, then it means you already have some form of tax identification from the State Internal Revenue Service. My expectation is that this should suffice in the interim pending effort by the JTB to harmonize tax ID numbers.
If you are a consultant and you have done business with government or any organization where WHT was deducted, then it means you must have at some point provided a TIN because the system now is automated. Make efforts to verify your number to be sure it is still valid.
Others (Unemployed, Student, etc)
If however you are not in any of these categories or maybe you are a student, self-employed or live in the diaspora, you will still be required to obtain a TIN. The TIN only confirms that you are a registered tax payer in Nigeria, it is not a deduction of tax from source nor does it confer on you any accreditation that you have paid your tax.
How to obtain your individual TIN
According to the Joint Tax Board, Individuals are automatically assigned with a TIN based on their BVN (Bank Verification Number) or NIN (National Identity Number). This presupposes that before you can have a TIN, you must be enrolled in BVN and the NIN. Thus if you already have a BVN or a NIN, you are likely to have been assigned a TIN.
To verify and confirm this, you can verify your TIN . This is a very important point to note.
I tried searching the JTB site using my BVN, NIN and registered Phone Number and it came back with no record. What this means is that there is the potential for problems associated with the system which needs to be tidied up before this section of the bill takes effect.
That said, many have confirmed that indeed the system works as they have been able to retrieve their TIN by using the search criteria on the site.
To summarize this article, it is important to note the following:
1. TIN Registration is Free. No one should compel you to pay for it.
2. TIN is a requirement of every taxable individual in Nigeria. A taxable individual is anyone that earns an income and/or is paid an income by an organization irrespective of age. This includes foreigners working in Nigeria as well
3. TIN doesn’t take away your tax relief or exemptions. It is just a confirmation of registration of the individual for tax purposes.
4. TIN is now a statutory requirement for the opening, maintenance and operation of bank accounts in Nigeria.
5. Get your TIN number and validate it on the FIRS website.
My expectation is that between now and whenever the law comes into effect, all efforts would be on to ensure a seamless process of obtaining and verifying TIN for individuals. If someone has already enrolled into the BVN and has a NIN, then the TIN should be automatic.
About The Author
Yinka Ogunnubi is an author, economist and a finance professional with extensive experience in corporate treasury and finance; who has developed interest over time in personal finance for application in the home and personal life. He can be reached via @yinkanubi