WHAT IS A TIN?
The Taxpayer Identification Number (T.I.N.) is a unique number that identifies a specific individual (or business) for the purposes of paying taxes. As tax payment is mandatory for all individuals and businesses, everyone needs to have a unique TIN.
Tax Identification Number (TIN) is prepared by the tax office FIRS in conjunction with the Joint Tax Board (JTB). It is issued to individuals or registered business / incorporated companies for proper identification and verification. Established in 1943, NFIRS is designed to operate a well-organized tax system in the country. Tin identifiers are used by establishments and individual people for the goal of tax payment.
Also, it is a 14 digit sequential number generated electronically as part of the tax registration process and assigned to all taxpayers; company, enterprise, or individual for identification. It is free and can be obtained from any Tax office closest to you.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in 2011, directed that all corporate entities must provide a Tax Identification Number to open or continue operating a bank account in any Nigerian Bank. CBN deadline was September 13, 2011. Due to this, it is imperative that you obtain your TIN especially if you have a business. It is now mandatory to submit your TIN before you can open a corporate account.
WHAT DO YOU NEED A TIN FOR?
Although, the registration for TIN is mandatory, there is a long list of things of things you need the TIN for, hence it becomes an essential rather than required. Below are few of the things you need TIN for.
- Opening a corporate bank account – Section 28(1) of the Personal Income Tax Act which was amended by the Finance Act 2020, states that ‘a person engaged in banking shall require that a person intending to open a bank account for the purposes of the person’s business operations shall provide a tax identification number as a precondition for opening or continue operating of such bank account’.
- Government loans
- Foreign exchange
- Application for trade licenses
- Import and export license
- Registration of motor vehicles
- Application for certificate of occupancy, etc.
Registering for tax is a must-have when a citizen is about to launch a commerce firm and register a company. It is a part of the entity recognition, and it is assigned by law to pay taxes and thus, to get TIN.
A TIN is also necessary to get a tax clearance certificate for your business. You will need this as evidence that you are paying your taxes as due. Applying for a unique Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) is a simple, applicant-friendly process outlined in the steps below:
How To Apply For Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)
Step 1: Visit any Tax Authority office nearest to you and obtain the relevant application form. I obtained my Tax Identification Number (TIN) at Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and it was free
Step 2: Complete the application form and return to the Tax Authority with valid proof of identities such as Driver’s License, International Passport, Utility bill, or any other similar valid document. For individuals, you need to submit your application letter and for companies, you need to submit your Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) certificate.
Step 3: Provide required biometric information based on the search criteria in Step 2 above.
Step 4: Upon confirmation, a card will be issued to you on the spot.
Available at the offices of the Joint Tax Board (JTB), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and State Boards of Internal Revenue (SBIR).
Requirement for Obtaining TIN for Business
To obtain a TIN for a business already incorporated at the Corporate Affairs Commission, you will need to go to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) office that is closest to your registered address. You can find the locations on the FIRS website with the following documents:
- Memorandum & Articles of Association
- Certificate of Incorporation: CAC2, CAC7
- Company seal
- Utility bill
- Application letter on company letter headed paper
- Duly completed TIN Application form.
You should take the original copy and 2 photocopies of each document. The originals are required for sighting only, 1 copy will be left with the FIRS, and 1 copy will be stamped and signed by an FIRS official as evidence that you have made an application.
If your business is a registered business name, and not an incorporated company. In order to apply for TIN you need to apply for VAT registration, the VAT number you are provided with will be your TIN registration number. Please jump to our article on how to register for VAT.
STEPS FOR APPLYING FOR A TAX CLEARANCE CERTIFICATE
The taxpayer is to fill the registration input form and submit to the FIRS branch
Wait for FIRS assessment approval or rejection (at this stage, the assessment can be subject to additional assessment by the tax authority, as a result of any disagreement with items such as disallowed expenses in the financial statement. Follow up at the FIRS office to confirm approval or issuance of the certificate.
HOW MUCH DOES TIN APPLICATION COST?
Applying for your TIN IS FREE if you do it yourself. You do not have to pay any fees to obtain it, and you do not need to employ someone to apply on your behalf. However, most people decide to engage the services of 3rd parties to assist them in obtaining it.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET MY TIN?
Ordinarily, the TIN should be given instantly or at most by the next day, however, it appears that a number of the FIRS offices are struggling with backlogs, and so it is not uncommon for the process to drag on for about a week or in some instances 2 weeks.
Remember payment of tax is a civic duty. If you are doing business in Nigeria or intending to do business, you are expected to fulfill this necessary obligation and the first step in this is obtaining your TIN.
In conclusion, there has been an advanced shift in technology especially in the area of tax administration recently in Nigeria. Before, filling and application processes were not easily accessible by an applicant of TIN and Tax Clearance Certificate. Now the process of e- filing has been embraced to the point that companies and individuals can now access their status through the portal and other online activities.
To maintain a good tax policy and tax compliance measures with no detrimental effect, it will be appropriate and safer to consult an expert on tax administration who may be an accountant or a tax lawyer to monitor every related tax transactions of the company
The duties of the expert in the field of tax administration is to inform individuals or companies when they are due to pay tax, verify the audited statement of account, monitor procedures and applications submitted to the tax regulatory authorities as well as ensuring that the company or individual they represent file their annual returns, within the specified date given by regulatory agencies.