Exploring the Provisions of the Nigeria Finance Act 2020 Related to Value Added Tax (VAT).

Rows of coin stacks with toy blocks among the receipts  symbolizing value added tax



The Act brought significant changes to the VAT system, expanding its scope and introducing new requirements. Understanding these provisions is crucial for businesses operating in Nigeria to ensure compliance with the revised VAT regulations, optimize their pricing strategies, and manage their tax obligations effectively. As an audit firm dedicated to educating and empowering our prospective customers, this article delves into the provisions of the Nigeria Finance Act 2020 related to Value Added Tax (VAT).


Expansion of VAT Scope:

The Finance Act 2020 expanded the scope of VAT by introducing provisions for the taxation of digital services provided by foreign companies. This means that businesses providing digital services such as software, streaming platforms, e-books, and online advertising may now be required to register for VAT in Nigeria and charge VAT on their services.


Introduction of “Reverse Charge” Mechanism:

The Act introduced the concept of “Reverse Charge” in specific circumstances, shifting the responsibility for remitting VAT from the supplier to the recipient of goods or services. Under the Reverse Charge mechanism, the recipient is required to calculate and remit VAT directly to the tax authorities, rather than relying on the supplier to collect and remit the tax.


Compliance and Registration Threshold:

The Finance Act 2020 adjusted the VAT compliance and registration threshold. Previously, businesses with an annual turnover of ₦5 million were required to register for VAT. However, the Act increased the threshold to ₦25 million, providing relief for small businesses with lower turnovers.


Treatment of Imported Services:

The Act introduced provisions for the taxation of imported services. Businesses that import services from outside Nigeria are now required to self-assess and remit VAT on these services directly to the tax authorities.


Digital Economy and E-commerce:

Recognizing the growing significance of the digital economy, the Finance Act 2020 expanded the VAT net to cover digital transactions and e-commerce activities. This ensures that businesses operating in the digital space contribute their fair share of VAT, leveling the playing field between traditional and digital businesses.


VAT Exemptions and Exclusions:

While the Finance Act 2020 broadened the VAT scope, it also maintained certain exemptions and exclusions. Essential goods and services, such as basic food items, medical services, educational services, and certain agricultural products, remain exempt from VAT. It is crucial for businesses to understand these exemptions to avoid unnecessary tax implications.


Record-keeping and Reporting Requirements:

The Act emphasizes the importance of maintaining accurate records and complying with reporting requirements. Businesses are required to keep detailed records of their transactions, VAT calculations, and remittances. Timely and accurate filing of VAT returns is necessary to ensure compliance and mitigate potential penalties.


VAT Rate:

The Finance Act 2020 did not introduce any changes to the standard VAT rate, which remains at 7.5%. Businesses should continue to calculate VAT based on this rate for applicable transactions.



The provisions of the Nigeria Finance Act 2020 related to Value Added Tax (VAT) bring significant changes and requirements for businesses operating in the country. It is essential for businesses to understand these provisions, expand their VAT compliance efforts, and ensure accurate VAT calculations, record-keeping, and reporting. By staying informed and proactive, businesses can navigate the revised VAT regulations, optimize pricing strategies, and fulfill their tax obligations effectively. As an audit firm, we are committed to assisting our prospective clients in understanding and complying with the provisions of the Finance Act 2020 related to VAT, providing them with the knowledge and guidance needed to thrive in the evolving Nigerian tax environment.


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