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Tax

Minister of Finance Issues Value Added Tax (Modification) Order 2021

The Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning (“the Minister”) recently issued the Value Added Tax  (Modification) Order, 2021 (“2021 Order”), which is effective from 30th July, 2021. The Order modifies and expands the list of exempted goods and services in the First Schedule to the Value Added Tax (VAT) Act and provides clarification on the exempted items already listed in the VAT Act.

Details

Section 38 of the VAT Act (“the Act”) empowers the Minister to amend, vary or modify the list set out in the First Schedule to the Act.

In 2020, the Minister, issued the VAT (Modification) Order 2020 that defined certain items contained in the list of exempted items provided in the First Schedule to the VAT Act and further expanded the list. The Minister has now issued the VAT (Modification) Order 2021 which revokes and supersedes the VAT (Modification) Order 2020 and all other VAT (Modification) Orders issued before the commencement of the 2021 Order.

The 2021 Order modifies and expands the list of exempted items provided in the First Schedule of the VAT Act and sets out their Common External Tariff (CET) codes. The Order also provides definitions to the VAT exempt items listed in the First Schedule to the VAT Act.

Some of the changes introduced by the 2021 Order are highlighted below:

  1. The VAT exemption for services rendered by Micro-Finance banks has been restricted to those rendered by “Unit Micro-Finance Banks” and a “Unit Micro-Finance Bank” has been defined to mean a “micro-finance bank categorized by the Central Bank of Nigeria as Tier 1 or Tier 2 Unit Micro-Finance Bank;
  2. “Commercial aircrafts, commercial aircraft engines, commercial aircraft spare parts” which is listed as VAT exempt in the VAT Act has been defined to mean –
  • in the case of a commercial aircraft, an aircraft used in shared air transportation in Nigeria excluding private aircrafts; and
  • in the case of commercial engines and commercial aircraft spare parts, engine and spare parts for use on commercial aircrafts;
  1. “Books and educational materials” which is listed as VAT exempt in the VAT Act was rephrased as “Educational books and materials”;
  2. “Airline Transportation Tickets” which is also listed as VAT exempt in the VAT Act has been defined to exclude hired or rented aircrafts or private jets;
  3. “Fertilizer” which is also listed as VAT exempt in the VAT Act was streamlined to mean “all Fertilizers for Agricultural purpose”;
  4. Petroleum products, which is listed as VAT exempt in the 2021 Order, has been defined to mean aviation turbine kerosene, premium motor spirit, household kerosene and locally produced liquefied petroleum gas and crude petroleum oils;
  5. The definition of “lease of residential accommodation” which previously excluded leases by corporate persons from VAT exemption has been deleted;

Furthermore, the 2021 Order also inserted the following into the First Schedule to the VAT Act as VAT exempt items:

  • Petroleum Products;
  • Renewable energy equipment;
  • Raw Materials for the production of baby diapers and sanitary towels;
  • Raw materials for the production of pharmaceutical products;
  • Locally produced animal feed;
  • Military hardware, arms, ammunitions and locally manufactured uniforms used by the Armed forces, para-military and other security agencies of governments in Nigeria;
  • Gas supplied by gas producing companies to Electricity Generating Companies (GENCOs). Electricity generated by GENCOs and supplied to National Grid or Nigeria Bulk Electricity Company and Electricity transmitted by Transmission Company of Nigeria to Electricity Distribution Companies;
  • Agricultural seeds and seedlings;
  • Shared passenger road-transport service.

Implication

The Order seeks to modify the First Schedule to the VAT Act by effectively expanding it and providing relevant interpretations of terms that had previously led to contentions between the tax authority and taxpayers. Thus, it is important for every taxpayer to note all the recent amendments such as the deletion of the definition of “lease of residential accommodation” from the VAT Modification Order and evaluate their financial records for compliance.

We have attached copy of the Value Added Tax (Modification) Order, 2021 (“2021 Order”) for your information and records.