Let’s face it: No one likes paying tax and this is exactly why taxes are one of the last things on the to do list of most businesses until they are visited by tax officials. Before the Finance Bill 2019, every business was mandated to have a Tax Identification Number (TIN) before opening a Bank account, but the bill now includes a requirement for Banks to request for Individual Tax Identification Number which would further expand the tax net considerably, therefore understanding the different types of taxes, rates and available deductions should now be an essential for both individuals and businesses.
Two very important types of tax in Nigeria are Value Added Tax (VAT) and Withholding Tax (WHT) and my emphasis today is the meaning and applicability of these taxes to your business.
Withholding tax is basically an advance and indirect source of taxation deducted at source from the invoices of the tax payer. WHT is not really a distinct tax type and therefore has no legislation of its own. It is only a mechanism for the collection of other taxes. Consequently, its application is provided for in the enabling law of other tax types i.e. Section 81 of the Company Income Tax Act or Section 13 of the Value Added Tax Act. The main purpose of WHT is to capture as much tax payers that may have evaded tax into the tax net and the rate is usually 5%-10% depending on the type of transaction.
WHT is used mainly for transactions involving contract of purchase e.g. When a company or individual supplies goods or services to another company an invoice will usually be issued as evidence of a transaction.
The WHT system in Nigeria is regulated by both Federal and State Inland Revenue Services.
Value Added Tax
VAT is a consumption tax payable on the goods and service consumed by any person whether government agencies, business organizations or individuals. The target of VAT is consumption of goods and services and unless an item is specifically exempted by law, the consumer is liable to the tax.
The standard rate of tax has now been raised to 7.5% of invoice value of goods and services although companies with an annual turnover of N25 million (approx. US$69,000) or less would be exempt from VAT registration and filing obligations.
The VAT system in Nigeria is administered by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). All existing manufacturers, distributors, importers and suppliers of goods and services are required to register for VAT. The prospective VAT payer will obtain and complete VAT registration (and return it to the nearest FIRS Tax Office. A permanent VAT registration number is then issued to the tax payer.
Goods Exempted from VAT include Medical and Pharmaceutical Products; Basic food items; Books and educational materials; Newspapers and magazines; Baby products; Commercial vehicles and their spare parts, and Agricultural equipment and products and veterinary medicine;
Services Exempted from VAT include Medical Services; Services rendered by Community Banks, Peoples Banks and Mortgage Institutions; and Plays and performances conducted by educational institutions as part of learning.
The tax is collected on behalf of the Government by businesses and organizations which have registered with the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) for VAT purposes, and who are now required to make monthly returns to the Government.
To illustrate these type of taxes better we will use an example Nairametrics.
Jideowo Ltd is a supplier of printing and stationery and got a contract to supply stationery to MoMoney Ltd for an invoice value of N100,000. Being a Vatable item, JideOwo Ltd adds a 5% VAT to the contract sum bringing the total amount to N105,000.
Upon receiving this invoice, the accounts department of MoMoney deduct 5% WHT from the invoice and schedule a payment of N100,000 in favor of Jideowo Ltd. They then remit the deducted N5,000 to the Federal Inland Revenue Service and obtain a withholding tax credit note which they should give to authorized representatives of Jideowo Ltd.
Jideowo Ltd upon receiving the payment of N100,000 and Tax credit note of N5,000 will remit a sum of N5,000 to the Federal Inland Revenue as value added tax on the transaction. They will then show the FIRS the WHT credit note of N5,000 which can be used to set-off against future company income taxes.
Break-down of payment (who gets what in cash).
Invoice amount – N105, 000
FIRS (VAT) – N5,000
FIRS (WHT) – N5,000
Jideowo Ltd – N95,000
Tax evasion is a crime that involves an individual or business intentionally avoiding payment of tax. Those caught evading taxes are generally subject to criminal charges and substantial penalties. On the other hand Tax avoidance is the legal usage of the tax regime to one’s own advantage to reduce the amount of tax that is payable by means that are within the law. Tax avoidance is perfectly legal.
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Land can be classified as either free or acquired. A parcel of land is considered free if the government has not indicated any interest whatsoever in that land. Such land is safe to buy because the title on the land can be perfected without issues.
In most cases, such lands will either have a gazette, a C of O or a governor’s consent.
An Excision means basically taking a part from a whole and that part that has been excised will be recorded and documented in the official government gazette of that state. In other words, not having an excision means the land could be seized by the Government anytime without compensating you even if you bought it “Legitimately” from the Baale or the Original dwellers on the land.
Global or General Acquisition
Lands that are under “general acquisition” or “global acquisition” can later be confirmed ‘free’ or ‘committed’ as the case may be.
A land under general acquisition can become free by a process called excision.
There are two types of acquisition:
A parcel of land is said to be under committed acquisition when the government has indicated an intention to use that land for a specific purpose such as provision of amenities.
Such lands belong to the government and can never be available for use by individuals. If you purchase land that is under committed acquisition, it will be impossible for you to perfect your land title and you’ll only be occupying the land until the government comes to kick you out.
The following documents are usually involved when a purchase is made.
1 The purchase receipt
2 The contract of sale and
3 The deed of assignment
4 The survey plan
5 The Building plan for housing investment
6 Any other title document that may apply
WHAT IS LAND TITLE?
Land title may be defined as *the rights or ownership claim a person has over a property. It simply means, for you to claim land title, you must show other people the right you have over that land. E.g the land was willed to you by your late grandfather or you bought the property from another person and he handed over the title documents of the land or there was a dispute on the land and a court judgement awarded you the land as the owner etc.
To determine what title a person has over a property, a prospective buyer must inspect the available documents the seller is relying on to initiate the transaction.
DEED OF CONVEYANCE
Deed of Conveyance or Registered Conveyance was the authentic evidence of ownership until 1978 Land use Act that introduced Certificate of Occupancy.
Deed of Conveyance is old legal document used in transferring the interest of the owner of a landed property interest to the person to another whom it is assigned, the assignee. When ownership is transferred, the new legal document in use now is called deed of assignment.
A freehold is not a title. The remedy is to institute a legal document on the land like getting a Governors Consent, or C of O. (These are binding documents that can stand the test of time and stand in any court of law)
In a situation you have the C of O and survey without Deed of Assignment for a land allocated by state government. Is the documents enough without Deed of Assignment?
Answer: Government schemes mostly doesn’t come with Deed of Assignment. What government gives in this case is Letter of Allocation and through the letter of assessment you obtained from the NTDA you can process your C of O.
Question: Does this mean that “Lands have to at least be excised before it can be sold or transferred to someone else”?
Answer: You become rightful owner of the land once the government release it to you via excision.
Though Governments recognize ancestral land ownership as excision is the right of the indigenous land owners.
CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY
A Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) issued by the Lagos State Government officially leased Lagos land to you, the applicant, for 99 yrs. All lands belong to the Government.
GOVERNMENT BARRED LAND
Buying a Government barred land is risky. Government bars you from owning land it has acquired to build infrastructures such as airports, roads etc. Learn how to avoid buying a Government barred Land.
KNOW THE DIFFERENCE Between Rectification and Ratification
Don’t be confused. Rectification and Ratification means two separate things but they sound alike. Rectification means to correct a grave error on a document while Ratification means giving formal consent to a contract or agreement thereby making it validly official.
To understand how Rectification of Title to Land differs from Ratification of Title to land, we have to understand what a Land title means so we can comprehend it quite easily.
Is excision as good as obtaining c of o?
Is a person having excision still mandated to obtain c of o?
Answer: After a land has been excised and Gazetted then you can either process your C of O or Governor consent.
Excision does not expire while C of O expire after 99 years. The only advantage C of O has over Excision is that it can be used as collateral for getting loan in the bank
A governor’s consent can only be processed on a land with either Gazette or an Existing Certificate of Occupancy (C of O).
If a person with land with C of O decides to sell his land, the only documents that can give the new buyer or every other subsequent buyer’s the right of occupancy or ownership is a governor’s consent.
The powers of the Governor to consent to such transactions can be found in Section 22 of the Land Use Act of 1978 which states thus ‘It shall not be lawful for the holder of a statutory right of occupancy granted by the governor to alienate his right of occupancy or any part thereof by assignment, mortgage, transfer of possession, sublease or otherwise howsoever without the consent of the Governor first had and obtained” This simply means therefore that even when a buyer has secured a land with a Certificate of Occupancy, he shouldn’t stop there.
He needs to begin the process of obtaining a Governor’s consent to make that purchase legal in the eyes of the government and be rest assured his land is safe.
A Survey plan is a document that measures the boundary of a parcel of land to give an accurate measurement and description of that land. The people that handle survey issues are Surveyors and they are regulated by the office of the Surveyor general in Lagos as it relates to survey issues in Lagos. A survey plan must contain the following information:
A Gazette is an Official record book where all special government details are spelt out, detailed and recorded
A gazette will show the communities or villages that have been granted excision and the number of acres or hectares of land that the government has given to them. It is within those excised acres or hectares that the traditional family is entitled to sell its lands to the public and not anything outside those hectares of land given or excised to them.
DEED OF ASSIGNMENTS
Most people have the title documents to their cars intact and in safe places but fail to ask for the Deed of assignment to their properties which is several times more valuable than cars
A Deed of assignment is one of the transnational documents drawn up by a real estate attorney between the current title holder for a particular property and the new buyer.
In real property transactions, a deed of assignment is a legal document that transfers the interest of the owner of that interest to the person to whom it is assigned, the assignee. When ownership is transferred, the deed of assignment shows the new legal owner of the property.
The deed contains very pertinent information for a real estate transaction. It spells out the date when the ownership of the property transfers from one owner to the other. The deed also gives a specific description of the property that is included in the transfer of ownership.
It is very compulsory and mandatory for a Deed of Assignment document to be recorded at the appropriate land registry to show legal evidence as to the exchange of ownership in any land/landed property transaction in order to make the general public and government aware of such exchange or transaction.
If you are considering buying property or land in Nigeria, there are some important things to know about the culture.
You can find all kinds of properties available for sale and for rent, but it’s tough to understand the smaller nuances of the culture without making a visit.
In this article, we’ll share a few important things to note before taking the leap to relocate your family to Nigeria. If you are only purchasing investment property, these are less important to know.
However, they can still be beneficial as you decide where you’re going to invest. Of course, this ultimately depends on your priorities (cost, schooling, climate, population, closeness to conveniences, facilities, etc).
First, let’s break down the most popular neighborhoods, and why people choose to live there. Lagos is known for many things and is a true representation of Africa’s middle class. Most people are employed, have their own homes, families, hobbies, and there are countless things to do in the city.
Ikoyi is arguably the best place to live in Lagos.
Known to house the rich and wealthy, this city is the best place to be if you’re well off. The crime rate in Ikoyi is almost non-existent and the city doesn’t cut corners when it comes to security. Whether you are raising children or looking for a stable investment property, there are many good schools, Montessori schools, and universities in Ikoyi.
Further, The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Nigerian Government Presidential Secretariat and the Deputy-Governor of Lagos State all live in the city of Ikoyi, Lagos.
If there was a national emergency, this would likely be the safest retreat.
Ikoyi is a convenient place to do business, and many foreign travelers stop through this city. The only downside we can think of when it comes to this city is the frequent traffic gridlock.
Lekki is right by Victoria Island. Known for its upscale nightclubs, bars, malls, hotels, galleries, and cinemas, this one is a popular tourist destination. As a result, it is safer than many other cities in the world. Lekki has also got the best beaches you can visit in Lagos.
There are numerous thoughtfully arranged apartment complexes and every convenience you can imagine in a 1st world country. There are supermarkets, stores, eateries, and restaurants, as well as an Oriental Hotel, Baylounge, Hard Rock Café, and the Landmark Centre. This is where most of the reality TV shows shoot the live’s of the wealthy population of Nigeria.
Just like Lekki and Ikoyi, Victoria Island (V.I) is also a great place to live or do business. With many corporate headquarters of big businesses in Lagos since 1995, Victoria Island has a notable elite population.
It is also the principal financial center of Lagos. There are many bank headquarters, making Victoria Island the smartest place to start a business in Lagos.
Ikeja is the capital of Lagos and one of the most populated cities.
Additionally, Ikeja is regarded as the center of business in Lagos. If you have an established business or ample capital to get your business off the ground, its not a bad idea to start here. Ikeja is a well planned, clean, and quiet residential community in Lagos.
It’s a short drive away from all the excitement of the city, without the gridlock traffic.
The most popular areas in Ikeja include:
We love selling properties in Ajah!
It’s just gorgeous, and one of the best opportunities for generating a return on your investment.
Ajah is very close to one of the biggest market in Lagos, and it is also one of the most beautiful places in the entire country.
This city has security, and a thriving commercial environment.
There are many well-priced estates springing up in between Ajah and Lekki, making this entire region a great place to invest and live.
This is a trendy neighborhood. Thus, there are several toll gates you have to make way through to get here. Victoria Garden City’s gated community is one of the newest neighborhoods in Lagos. Ultimately, this area is newly developed but really nice. If you want modern facilities, posh clubs, gyms, boutiques, schools, and recreation centers – this city has everything you need.
So without further delay, let’s talk about the environment and culture in Nigeria. You may already know some of these pointers, but nonetheless, they are the most important to consider when buying land or property.
Nigeria is hot and humid!
If you’re looking for sunshine all through the year, Nigeria is generally warm and inviting.
The weather varies from place to place, but it never snows. Additionally, the high humidity makes it feel much hotter than it actually is and many people have air-conditioners in their cars, houses, and offices to avoid the sticky sweatiness that comes with hot humid weather.
We want to make this clear so that you may avoid culture shock upon arriving to the bustling city of Lagos.
Remember, Nigeria is a developing country. You might recognize aspects of the country that remind you of the roughness of Delhi, New York, London, or Rio De Janeiro. Don’t be alarmed.
In many areas just outside the chaos of the city center, the roads are untarred, the buildings are simple, and the people lead quiet agricultural lives.
You might feel like there’s no order, as some places don’t even have stable electricity or portable water.
However, many locals have generators to provide their own electricity as well as their own water supply.
This is just cultural custom, and like many cultures, people do what has always worked for them. It may look like chaos when you see arbitrary police stops on the road, unclear instructions given by the government officials, and unstable electricity. However, there’s a formula to the chaos that works for the country and makes for ample opportunity to invest in a developing, extremely populated region.
In major cities like Lagos, Nigeria — you can find Indian, Japanese, American, French, Chinese, and even Ethiopian food.
There’s actually lots and lots of Chinese food.
But also prepare for lots of meats, starches, and very spicy Nigerian food.
Pretty much everything in Nigeria is flavorful and spicy (hot).
Many restaurants can adjust the pepper level of your meal to your liking, however. Nigerian food is a true representation of the culture, offering a medley of deep, earthy, and lively flavors. Most restaurants offer vegetarian, and even vegan menu options, however, it may be difficult to adhere to other dietary restrictions like oil allergies.
The public transport system does not work on a strict schedule and may be overcrowded.
For more comfortable options, you can take Uber or Taxify which work seamlessly in Nigeria just like many other countries.
Some cities prefer cashless transactions and accept bank cards. However, relying on debit/credit cards can be unreliable in smaller cities and rural areas. To be safe, always carry both methods of payment. Fortunately, ATMs are available throughout the country.
Nigeria is a diverse community of many cultures, languages, etc. However, one in seven people are of Nigerian descent.
Even though the country is a secular state, half of the population identifies as Christian and the other majority identifies as Muslim.
Friend groups may intermix, but do not expect people to separate their religious activities from those of their work lives.
There is also a growing Hindu community and other religious sects. The country is also well decorated with churches and mosques, but as long as you too are tolerant, people won’t have a problem with you expressing your religious views.
As mentioned, the traffic comes with city life. Like New York City, give yourself ample time to get to your destination because large cities like Lagos are very, very busy.
This isn’t usually an issue, but it can never hurt to take precautions that will keep you healthy.
The Nigerian climate, food, flora, and fauna has a different effect on everybody.
Tropical bugs or allergens are everywhere. It’s also very warm, and the food is very spicy – so your stomach may take time to adjust. Nigeria is not any more diseased than other countries, however, residents are typically more immune to certain illnesses than visitors and foreigners. It pays to plan ahead, and protect yourself from any common diseases people from your home country have become susceptible to in Nigeria.
Once you become a local, this won’t be an issue any longer.
The Nigerian property scene has become a hot cake in recent months, diverting global attention its way with its constant activity and immense profits. If you are toying with the idea of getting onboard this lucrative bandwagon, here are ten ways you could make money off the native property market:
You can choose to buy local land and hold on to it until it significantly appreciates. It’s always on an upward trend in the country, and you can realize insane profits in the region of 50% (sometimes even up to 80%!) in under a year for a good location.
Akin to land flipping, you can also acquire properties for future sales with incredible profits. Buying and selling houses is riveting business in a country with a large population that’s always on the hunt for a place to call home or start a business. Such investments can pay off with profits of up to 20 or 30% of the purchase value.
Real estate stocks are in plenty in the local stock exchange, and if you know who to place your trust and money on, you’ll reaping the rewards every year. With enough shares, profits could be in the millions of naira. You’ll need a financial consultant well-versed with the native real estate industry by your side to help you make the right calls.
If you have a career in land surveying, the Nigerian real estate market is your oyster. By investing in it, you’ll be privy to notable meet-and-greets and come across new opportunities to expand your client base.
Door protectors, overhead tanks, scaffolding, and whatnot ensure fabrication technicians and welders have plenty of work at their disposal. And they earn a respectable amount per project, making it an excellent career choice.
As with real estate industries everywhere, legal representation is necessary to get deals over the line. With a market seeing thousands of property transactions each month, you’ll have plenty of clients to offer legal counsel for a percentage of the sale.
From the roofing to kitchen cabinets and everything in between, there’s a lot of carpentry work to go around with house sales. You can help with renovations and installations if you are in this line of work, and make more than decent earnings off ever-shifting property ownerships.
Construction companies are the backbone of the real estate sector, and they earn modest incomes for clearing vast lands, setting up buildings, or renting out their equipment. While a construction company is a pretty hefty investment, it pays off for the brave of heart.
A property agent gets about 10% of the sale totals, and it’s not hard to carve out such a career path in Nigeria. A population upwards of 190 million means there’s no shortage of people in need of the services of an agent.
Did you know that close to eight out of ten Nigerians rent houses with only 20% boasting homeownership? Well, that’s good news to real estate investors as this means a constant supply of renting demand.
It’s looking good for Nigerian real estate investors, as all the signs point to the industry only getting more profitable. The market may have taken a dip three years ago but it has come back stronger than ever thanks to improving economic conditions. There’s no better time to invest in the local real estate industry than the present!