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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.

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Title Page – i
Declaration – ii
Certification – iii
Dedication – iv
Acknowledgements – vi
Table of Cases – vii
Table of Statutes – ix
List of Abbreviations – x
Abstract -xi
Table of Content -xii

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CHAPTER ONE: GENERAL INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the Research – 1
1.2 Statement of the Problem – 6
1.3 Objective of the Research – 7
1.4 Justification of the Research – 7
1.5 Scope of the Research – 9
1.6 Research Methodology – 9
1.7 Literature Review – 9
1.8 Organizational Layout. – 15

CHAPTER TWO: THE POWER, FUNCTIONS AND COMPOSITION OF
THE TAX APPEAL TRIBUNAL (TAT)
2.1 The Establishment of the Tax Appeal Tribunal- 18
2.2 The Jurisdiction of the Tax Appeal Tribunal – 22
2.3 Functions and Powers of the Tax Appeal Tribunal – 23

CHAPTER THREE: A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF THE JURISDICTION,
POWERS AND FUNCTIONS OF THE DEFUNCT BAC&
VAT-T AND THE TAT.
3.1 Establishment of the Body of Appeal Commissioners – 32
3.1.1 Procedure for Appeal at the Body of Appeal Commissioners – 32
3.1.2 Limitations to the Operation of the Body of Appeal Commissioner- 34
3.2 Establishment of the Value Added Tax Tribunal – 36
3.2.1 Procedure for Appeal to the VAT Tribunal – 36
3.2.2 Limitation to the Operation of the Value Added Tax Tribunal – 37
3.3 Comparative Analysis between the Body of Appeal Commissioners
and the Tax Appeal Tribunal – 38
3.4 Comparative Analysis between the Value Added Tax Tribunal
and the Tax Appeal Tribunal – 41

CHAPTER FOUR: CONSTITUTIONAL LIMITATIONS TO THE POWERS AND
FUNCTIONS OFTHE TAX APPEAL TRIBUNAL AS A DISPUTE
SETTLEMENT MECHANISM INNIGERIA
4.1 Limitation to the Jurisdiction of the Tax Appeal Tribunal
Over Taxation and Revenue Matters of the Federal Government – 47
4.1.1Conflict of the composition of the Tax Appeal Tribunal in the light
of Section 36(1) of the Constitution – 51
4.1.2The provision of the Ouster Clause seeking to prevent any legal action
against the propriety or otherwise of the Appointment of a Member
of the Tribunal and the constitution of the Tribunal – 53
4.1.3Defects in Appeal Procedure before the Tax Appeal Tribunal
to the Federal High Court. – 56

CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
5.1 Summary – 59
5.2 Conclusion – 60
5.3 Recommendation – 63
Bibliography – 67

 

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