Stamp Duty payment not basis for rent increment, FIRS warn landlords

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The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has warned landlords that there is no basis for rent increment in relation to the stamp duty payable on tenancy and lease agreement by tenants in the country.

Executive Chairman, FIRS, Mohammad Mamman Nami, who made the clarification in Abuja as part of his ongoing national public enlightenment campaign on the Stamp Duty Act said that tenants should pay the applicable stamp duty by themselves at any commercial bank of their choice, not to any landlord.

Nami, who spoke during a live radio programme, “The Mid-day Dialogue” on Nigeria Info FM Abuja, stated that there are no justifiable reasons for any landlord to increase rent purportedly on account of the stamp duty since it is not their responsibility to collect the fee.

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According to him, “The stamp duty is charged at graduated rates. Stamp duty on rent or lease from one year to less than seven years is 0.78 per cent. If your rent is N100, 000, stamp duty due on it is N780. Your stamp duty could be as low as N200 or N300 if you live in a room and parlour or in the village where rent is low. If you can afford to pay your rent between seven to 21 years, your stamp duty is three per cent on the rent. If you can afford to pay rent at once from 21 years and above, the stamp duty due is six per cent, which is very rare but we created room for it because some renters prefer long leases.”

“Once you’ve reached an agreement with your landlord on the amount to pay for your rent of less than seven years, you should calculate 0.78 percent of the amount, go to a nearby bank and ask to pay the 0.78 per cent into the stamp duty account. Collect the teller and tender it to your landlord to legalise your transaction with him or her.

“It is the responsibility of the landlord before he or she issues a receipt or sign a rent or lease agreement with a tenant to make sure that the tenant presents evidence of stamp duty payment. A landlord that does not insist on evidence of stamp duty payment will bear the cost of the stamp duty if the FIRS eventually finds out. You do not pay stamp duty on your own residential accommodation if you are the owner of the property even if you live in a 10-storey building.”

Nami also disclosed that the Finance Act 2019 has exempted 60 percent of taxpayers, including Small and Micro Enterprises (SMEs), from paying tax as only companies, which make up to N25 million turnover now pay tax or collect Value Added Tax (VAT).