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ABSTRACT


A critical appraisal of the powers of the Tax Appeal Tribunal (TAT) in the settlement of
Tax disputes in Nigeria stems from the fact that taxation is fast becoming the pivot and
bane of Nigeria’s Development. This research examined the legal frame work that
established and clothed this tribunal with powers, functions and jurisdiction of the
TAT.The limitations which possess as challenge to the operation of the TAT was
highlighted. These are the jurisdictional conflict between the TAT and the Federal High
Court, composition of the members of the TAT in the light of Section 36(1) of the 1999
Constitution (As amended), the insertion of an ouster clause preventing one from
challenging the propriety or otherwise of the appointment of a Tax Commissioner and the
limited right of Appeal to the Federal High Court on points of Law.The Research also
examined laws on the defunct Body of Appeal Commissioners (BAC) and Value Added
Tax Tribunal (VAT-T) the predecessor bodies to the TAT with a view to distinguishing
them from the TAT, the application of the legal frame work on the operation of the TAT,
establish findings and make recommendation on problems and challenges. Also discussed
was the reason for examining the powers, functions and jurisdiction of the TAT. This is
so because of the fact that this body has a lot to contribute in enhancing the revenue
profile of the government in amicable settlement of tax disputes. Therefore, this research
x-rayed the problems and challenges facing the TAT and proffer suggestions in tackling
these problems which will better place the tribunal as a mechanism of tax compliance.
The Research is doctrinal in nature using primary and secondary authorities. This study
made some findings which pose as serious challenges to the smooth operation of the TAT.
These are: the constitutional conflicts between the TAT and the Federal High Court over
taxing and revenue matters of the Federal government in the light of the exclusive
jurisdiction of the Federal High Court as seen in Section 251 of the 1999 Constitution(As
amended), constitionality of the composition of the TAT, the insertion of an ouster clause
which ousts the jurisdiction of the court of law from entertaining any question with
regards the validity or otherwise of the appointment of a TAT Commissioner and Appeal
from the TAT to the Federal High Court on points of Law. These challenges have
continued to elicit legal actions before the various courts in Nigeria. Recommendations
have also been proffered such as an amendment to the Federal Inland Revenue Service
(Establishment) Act, 2007 and the Federal High Court Act, 2005 to make the TAT a
division of the Federal High Court with the both judges and non-judges who will sit as
Assessors in the tribunal, hence an amendment to paragraph 2(1) of the Fifth Schedule to
the FIRS (Est.) Act removing the appointment from the Minister of Finance to a
committee from Ministries of Finance and Justice. The removal of the ouster clause in
paragraph 8 of the Fifth Schedule and making appeal lie directly from the TAT to the
Court of Appeal
.

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