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Insurance firms drag FIRS to court over N1.15bn tax

Source: huhuonline.com
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NICON Insurance Company Plc and 43 others have dragged the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to the Tax Appeal Tribunal over the non-refund of about N1.15 billion overpaid stamp duties.

The insurance companies in an appeal filed through their Counsel, Prof. Taiwo Osipitan (SAN), alleged that they paid the excess stamp duties to the Federal Government through FIRS between 2002 and 2006.

They averred that the respondent acted ``arbitrarily and capriciously'' by refusing to refund the excess stamp duties to them.

The companies said FIRS also erred in law ``in refusing to refund excess stamp duties paid on various increases on their share capital to the tune of N1.15 billion''.

They claimed that the respondent erred in law in the decision that the appellants' claims for refund of excess stamp duties paid by them on their respective statements of increase in share capital were time barred by virtue of Section 21 of Stamp Duties Act Cap S.8 Laws of the Federation, 2004.

Sunday Oghayei, who stood in for Osipitan,   said the appellants' claims ``are for a refund of excess stamp duties paid over and above the amount prescribed by relevant Statute/Money had and received by the respondent''.

The appellants are seeking for a ``declaration that the decision of the respondent that the application of the appellants for refund of excess stamp duty payments on increases in their share capital between is statute barred is incorrect, arbitrary, oppressive and a derogation of   the appellants' rights''.

They are also seeking for ``an order setting aside the decision of the respondent to the effect that the appellants claim for a refund of excess stamp duties paid on various increases on their share capital is time barred.

Also sought is an order directing the respondent to refund the respective amounts due to each of the appellants as shown in the schedule attached to their application for refund.

They are also seeking an order that respondent ``pays compounded interest on all refunds due to appellants at rate of 20 per cent per annum from January 2003 until date of judgment/award thereafter interest at the rate of 10 per cent per annum until all excess payments and interest thereon are refunded''.

The appellants include among others Continental Re-Insurance Plc, Industrial and General Insurance Plc, Royal Exchange Assurance Nig. Plc, International Energy Insurance Plc, Lasaco Assurance Plc., ADIC Insurance Ltd and Standard Alliance Assurance Company Ltd.

In his ruling, the Chairman of the Tribunal, Mr Nnamdi Ibegbu (SAN), adjourned the case to Dec. 4 2012 for hearing.