Non-Resident Taxation and International Air Travel in Lagos: Navigating the Skies of Compliance.

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Lagos, Nigeria’s vibrant economic and financial hub, is a major gateway for international air travel in West Africa. Non-resident airlines and aviation-related businesses often operate within the city’s bustling Murtala Muhammed International Airport and other facilities. However, understanding and adhering to the tax regulations specific to non-residents in the aviation sector is essential for smooth operations. In this article, we will explore the complexities of taxation for non-resident entities involved in international air travel in Lagos.

Non-Resident Entities in International Air Travel:

Non-resident entities in international air travel refer to foreign airlines, aircraft lessors, aviation service providers, and other related businesses that are not based in Nigeria but conduct operations within Lagos, especially at Murtala Muhammed International Airport.

Tax Regulations for Non-Resident Entities in Aviation:

Non-resident entities involved in international air travel in Lagos are subject to specific tax regulations:

  1. Companies Income Tax (CIT): Non-resident aviation companies are liable for Companies Income Tax (CIT) on profits generated from their operations in Nigeria. The standard CIT rate is 30%, but specific rules may apply to aviation income.
  2. Withholding Tax: Payments made to non-resident aviation entities for services or lease charges related to their operations in Lagos may be subject to withholding tax. The rate of withholding tax for non-residents is typically 10%.
  3. Value Added Tax (VAT): VAT is applicable to services provided within Lagos, including aviation services. Non-resident entities may be required to register for VAT if the revenue generated from these services exceeds the prescribed threshold.

Taxation and Compliance Considerations:

Non-resident entities involved in international air travel should consider the following to ensure taxation and compliance:

  1. CIT Compliance: Ensure accurate calculation and payment of Companies Income Tax (CIT) on profits generated from aviation operations in Nigeria. Specific CIT rules may apply to aviation income, affecting the applicable rate.
  2. Withholding Tax Compliance: Verify that withholding tax is correctly deducted from payments made for services or lease charges related to operations in Lagos. Compliance with the withholding tax rate is the responsibility of the paying entity.
  3. VAT Registration: Non-resident entities engaged in services subject to VAT should register for VAT with the Lagos Inland Revenue Service (LIRS) if their annual revenue from these services exceeds the prescribed threshold.
  4. Legal and Tax Expertise: Collaborating with local legal and tax experts is advisable to navigate Nigerian tax laws, regulations, and compliance requirements effectively.

Challenges and Compliance Risks:

Non-resident entities involved in international air travel in Lagos may face various challenges and compliance risks:

  1. Complexity: Nigerian tax laws can be intricate, especially when it comes to aviation income. Determining the applicable tax rate and exemptions requires expert guidance.
  2. Regulatory Changes: Tax laws and regulations can change over time, affecting compliance requirements and tax liabilities.
  3. Documentation Burden: Proper record-keeping and documentation of income and expenses are crucial for compliance but can be administratively demanding for aviation companies with complex operations.
  4. Currency Exchange Risks: Exchange rate fluctuations can impact the value of payments received, especially for international aviation transactions.


Non-resident entities involved in international air travel are vital to the dynamic aviation landscape of Lagos. To ensure compliance with tax regulations and minimize risks, it is advisable to collaborate with local experts, engage in tax planning, and maintain meticulous records. Staying informed about regulatory changes is also crucial for managing tax obligations efficiently while contributing to the efficient and seamless international air travel operations in Lagos.

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.