CIT and Exempt Income: Identifying Income Categories Exempt from Taxation for Nigerian Companies.


In the complex world of corporate taxation, it’s essential for businesses to distinguish between taxable income and exempt income. Exempt income refers to specific categories of income that are not subject to taxation under the Companies Income Tax (CIT) Act in Nigeria. Recognizing these exempt income categories is crucial for businesses aiming to optimize their tax positions and ensure compliance. In this article, we will delve into the concept of exempt income and the income categories that enjoy this privileged status.

Understanding Exempt Income:

Exempt income refers to income that is not subject to taxation. The CIT Act in Nigeria provides certain exemptions to encourage specific economic activities, investments, or industries. These exemptions are designed to foster economic growth, incentivize investment and support strategic sectors.

Common Categories of Exempt Income:

  1. Interest Income from Government Securities: Interest income earned from government securities, such as bonds and treasury bills, is exempt from CIT. This encourages investment in government debt instruments.
  2. Dividend Income from Nigerian Companies: Dividends received from Nigerian companies are generally exempt from CIT. This is intended to avoid double taxation on corporate profits.
  3. Compensation for Loss of Employment: Compensation received by individuals for the loss of employment or cessation of business is exempt from CIT.
  4. Income of Statutory Bodies: Income generated by statutory bodies established by law is typically exempt from taxation.
  5. Educational and Health Institutions: Non-profit educational and health institutions may enjoy exemptions on their income to promote education and healthcare services.
  6. Export Income: Income derived from the export of goods and services may be eligible for exemptions to support international trade.
  7. Agriculture and Primary Production: Income from agricultural and primary production activities may be exempt to boost the agricultural sector.
  8. Small Companies: Small companies that meet specific criteria may be eligible for reduced or exempt tax rates.

Maximizing Exempt Income Benefits:

  1. Proper Documentation: Maintain accurate records and documentation to substantiate claims for exempt income.
  2. Tax Planning: Strategically structure business operations to maximize income in exempt categories.
  3. Legal Compliance: Ensure compliance with all CIT Act provisions related to exempt income to avoid potential disputes with tax authorities.
  4. Professional Guidance: Engage tax experts who can assess your income streams and identify opportunities for exempt income benefits.

Benefits of Exempt Income:

  1. Tax Savings: Exempt income directly reduces a company’s tax liability, resulting in lower tax payments.
  2. Investment Promotion: Exempt income incentives encourage investments in specific sectors and industries.
  3. Economic Growth: Supporting exempt categories can contribute to economic growth and development.
  4. Sustainable Practices: Exempt income benefits can promote sustainable practices in areas such as agriculture and healthcare.


Understanding exempt income and the categories that qualify for exemptions is essential for businesses operating in Nigeria. Identifying and leveraging these opportunities can significantly reduce a company’s tax burden while contributing to economic growth in strategic sectors.

For professional advice on Accountancy, Transfer Pricing, Tax, Assurance, Outsourcing, online accounting support, Company Registration, and CAC matters, please contact Sunmola David & CO (Chartered Accountants & Tax Practitioners) at Lagos, Ogun state Nigeria offices, You can also reach us via WhatsApp at +2348038460036.