How to get a Tax Identification Number in Nigeria

Every Nigerian who sells products and services, runs his or her own business, is working for the government, public or private enterprise or involved into a free-lance system has to know details about TIN. Learn how to apply for Tax Identification Number in Nigeria, and why this is so important.

Registering for tax is a must-have when a citizen is about to launch a commerce firm and register a company. It is a part of the entity recognition, and it is assigned by law to pay taxes, and thus, to get TIN.

Tax Identification Number

TIN is an essential document in every individual and businessperson’s life. You will have to complete the application form for Tax Identification Number in Nigeria and submit it to the NFIRS (the 4-letter abbreviation stands for the Nigerian Federal Inland Revenue Service).

Established in 1943, NFIRS is designed to operate a well-organized tax system in the country. TIN identifiers are used by establishments and individual people for the goal of tax payment. Each working person has to apply for the Tax Identification Number.

How to get a Tax Identification Number in Nigeria

Who needs a TIN?

As mentioned above since tax payment is compulsory, every business must have its own unique TIN.

In July 2020, the CAC announced that upon successful registration of companies under Part A i.e. limited liability companies, a TIN would be automatically assigned to the company. However, the notification by the CAC does not cover other business organisations e.g. business names, therefore organisations like business names will still have to register with the FIRS directly.

What do you need it for?

Apart from registration for TIN being mandatory, there is a long list of other things, which you need a TIN for:

  • Opening a corporate bank account – Section 28(1) of the Personal Income Tax Act which was amended by the Finance Act 2020, states that ‘a person engaged in banking shall require that a person intending to open a bank account for the purposes of the person’s business operations shall provide a tax identification number as a precondition for opening or continue operating of such bank account’.
  • Government loans
  • Foreign exchange
  • Application for trade licenses, Import and export licenses
  • Registration of motor vehicles
  • Application for certificate of occupancy, etc.

A TIN is also necessary to get a tax clearance certificate for your business. You will need this as evidence that you are paying your taxes as due.

How do you apply?

To obtain a TIN for a business already incorporated at the Corporate Affairs Commission, you will need to go to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) office that is closer to your registered address. You can find the locations on the FIRS website with the following documents:

  • Memorandum & Articles of Association
  • Certificate of Incorporation: CAC2, CAC7
  • Company seal
  • Utility bill
  • Application letter on company letter headed paper
  • Duly completed TIN Application form

You should take the original copy and 2 photocopies of each document. The originals are required for sighting only, 1 copy will be left with the FIRS, and 1 copy will be stamped and signed by an FIRS official as evidence that you have made an application.

If your business is a registered business name, and not an incorporated company. In order to apply for TIN you need to apply for VAT registration, the VAT number you are provided with will be your TIN registration number.

How much does it cost?

Applying for your TIN IS FREE if you do it yourself.

You do not have to pay any fees to obtain it, and you do not need to employ someone to apply on your behalf. However, most people decide to engage the services of 3rd parties to assist them in obtaining it.

How long does it take to get my TIN?

Ordinarily, the TIN should be given instantly or at most by the next day, however, it appears that a number of the FIRS offices are struggling with backlogs, and so it is not uncommon for the process to drag on for about a week or in some instances 2 weeks.

Conclusion

Remember payment of tax is a civic duty. If you are doing business in Nigeria or intending to do business, you are expected to fulfill this necessary obligation and the first step in this is obtaining your TIN.

Fisayo James
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