Navigating FIRS Tax Compliance: Essential Steps for Small Enterprises.

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For small enterprises in Nigeria, understanding and navigating tax compliance can be a challenging task. The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) plays a pivotal role in ensuring that businesses meet their tax obligations and contribute to the nation’s economic development.

Step 1: Understand Your Tax Obligations:

  1. Income Tax: Determine whether your business is subject to corporate income tax or personal income tax, depending on its legal structure.
  2. Value-Added Tax (VAT): If your business’s annual turnover exceeds the threshold, register for VAT and comply with VAT filing and remittance requirements.
  3. Withholding Tax (WHT): Be aware of withholding tax obligations for payments made to suppliers, contractors, and service providers.

Step 2: Register with FIRS:

  1. Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN): Obtain a TIN from FIRS. It’s a unique identification required for all tax-related transactions.
  2. VAT Registration: If applicable, register for VAT with FIRS. This is mandatory if your annual turnover exceeds the stipulated threshold.

Step 3: Maintain Accurate Records:

  1. Financial Records: Keep accurate and up-to-date financial records, including sales invoices, expenses, receipts, and bank statements.
  2. Employee Records: Maintain records of employee salaries, wages, and tax deductions.

Step 4: File Timely Tax Returns:

  1. Income Tax Returns: File annual income tax returns (Companies Income Tax or Personal Income Tax) within the specified timeframe.
  2. VAT Returns: If registered for VAT, file monthly or quarterly VAT returns as required.

Step 5: Comply with Withholding Tax Requirements:

  1. Deduct WHT: Deduct withholding tax from payments made to suppliers, contractors, and consultants as required by law.
  2. Remittance: Remit the deducted withholding tax to FIRS within the stipulated timeline.

Step 6: Ensure Compliance with Transfer Pricing Rules:

  1. Transfer Pricing Documentation: If your business engages in related-party transactions, ensure compliance with transfer pricing documentation requirements.

Step 7: Stay Informed about Tax Changes:

  1. Monitor Updates: Stay updated on changes to tax laws, regulations, and rates. Changes can impact your compliance obligations.

Step 8: Engage Professional Support:

  1. Consult Tax Professionals: Seek advice from tax professionals or accounting firms with expertise in Nigerian tax laws. Their guidance can help you navigate compliance complexities.

Step 9: Plan for Tax Payments:

  1. Budget for Taxes: Set aside funds to cover your tax liabilities. Failure to pay taxes can lead to penalties and interest.

Step 10: Address Audit Requests Proactively:

  1. Cooperate: If selected for an audit, cooperate with the FIRS auditor. Provide requested information and documentation promptly.
  2. Professional Representation: Engage a tax professional or accounting firm to represent you during the audit. Their expertise can ensure a smooth process.


FIRS tax compliance is an integral part of operating a small enterprise in Nigeria. By understanding your tax obligations, registering with FIRS, maintaining accurate records, and engaging with tax professionals, you can navigate compliance effectively. Adhering to tax regulations not only ensures that you meet your legal obligations but also contributes to the growth and sustainability of your business.

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.