Monday, June 14, 2021 / 11:25 AM / by Chukwuemeka Eze /
Header Image Credit: Ecographics
What is a Practice Direction?
According to Wikipedia, a practice direction is a
supplemental protocol to rules of civil and criminal procedure in the courts - "a device to regulate minor procedural matters" - and is "an official
announcement by the court laying down rules as to how it should function."
Who made the practice directions and under which law?
The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Hon.
Justice John Terhemba Tsoho, made the Practice Directions under Order 57 rule 3
of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2019.
What is the summary of the objectives of the Practice
Speedy resolution of tax disputes involving the
Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
What goal will FIRS achieve through this Practice
It will enable FIRS to obtain the order of court:
Interim Order of forfeiture on immovable property of a taxpayer;
- Freezing a
taxpayer's bank account;
- For warrant of access
against a taxpayer's books, documents, services, billing systems, bank
accounts, including those stored in a computer; in digital, magnetic, optical
or electronic form for the purpose of tax investigation or audit;
- For levying Warrant
of Distraint executed by the Executive Chairman of FIRS against a taxpayer as
provided in section 33 of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment)
- To have access
and/or seal the business premises or other known place of business, where the
taxpayer refuses to willingly grant access to the FIRS.
Will the FIRS put the taxpayer ON NOTICE before
bringing an application to the Federal High Court to do any or all of the
things listed in Answers 4(i) - (v) to Question four above?
No. The FIRS is empowered by the Practice Directions
to file the application without serving the taxpayer, meaning that it will
bring the application by Motion Ex parte.
What will the Judge do upon receipt of the FIRS
The Judge is expected to do the following:
priority to the FIRS application. In other words, the court will take the
application out of turn in order to avoid long adjournments. Speed is the
- Grant any or all
of the orders listed in Answer
- (i) - (v) to Question four above upon being
satisfied with the FIRS application.
What can FIRS do after obtaining the interim
forfeiture order from the court?
- It will
serve the taxpayer the interim forfeiture order, and takeover the property or
bank account or any other asset of the taxpayer;
- It will file
another application called a Motion on Notice, for which it will serve the
taxpayer urging the court to make an Order Absolute in order to
permanently takeover the property or bank account of the taxpayer;
- FIRS has to bring this
application within 14 days after service of the Interim Order of forfeiture. An
Order Absolute connotes the taxpayer will permanently forfeit the subject of
the Interim Order of forfeiture, be it property, money in the bank account or
any other thing covered by the original order.
What can the taxpayer who has been served a Motion on
taxpayer will decide whether to pay the assessed tax or challenge the
- Where he decides to
pay the amount assessed by FIRS, the court will enter final judgment
accordingly for him to pay into the designated FIRS bank account;
- Where the taxpayer
decide to challenge the assessment, he shall pay half of the assessed
amount in an interest-yielding account of the Federal High Court, and file
court processes challenging the interim order already obtained by the FIRS
against the taxpayer.
What happens when the taxpayer absents himself on the
day the court will hear his counter-affidavit or application?
The court may terminate his opposition or strikeout
his processes, and allow the status of affairs before the termination or
striking out to remain.
When is the commencement date of the Practice
31st May, 2021.
About the Author
Chukwuemeka Eze, fcti is a Tax Law & Policy
lecturer, Faculty of Law, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, and Legal Adviser,
Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN)
Exempts Payment of Default Fees for Filing of Processes for the Period of JUSUN
Tax Treatment of
Non-Profit Entities in Nigeria
Solicitors Forum: Stakeholders Call for Clarity on Nigerian Tax Provisions for
Guidelines for Filing Naira-denominated Tax Returns on TaxPro-Max e-Filing
Taxpayers to File VAT and CIT Returns on the e-Filing Platform
Standard Compliance in Nigeria: What Next to Consider?
Public Notice on The Local Filing of Country By Country Report
Application and Financial Reporting Standard
Implementation of Regulation 4 of the Income Tax Reporting Regulations, 2018
10. Nigeria's Tax
Function Assessment Report by KPMG Nigeria