Taxation of Expatriates in Lagos: LIRS’s Guidelines for International Assignees.

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Lagos, Nigeria’s bustling economic hub, attracts a diverse range of talents from around the world. Expatriates and international assignees play a significant role in the city’s growth and development. However, the tax implications for these individuals can be complex. To ensure clarity and compliance, the Lagos Inland Revenue Service (LIRS) has established clear guidelines for the taxation of expatriates in the state. In this article, we will explore the tax considerations for international assignees in Lagos, the LIRS’s guidelines and how they impact both expatriates and their employers.

Tax Considerations for Expatriates:

Expatriates working in Lagos may have various tax obligations, including:

  1. Income Tax: Expatriates are subject to Nigerian income tax on income earned in Nigeria, including salaries, bonuses and other compensation.
  2. Residency Status: Determining one’s residency status is crucial, as it affects the tax rate and eligibility for certain exemptions.
  3. Double Taxation: Nigeria has tax treaties with many countries to prevent double taxation. Expatriates should understand the terms of these treaties to avoid paying taxes on the same income in two countries.
  4. Fringe Benefits: Benefits such as housing allowances, company cars and school fees for dependents may be taxable.
  5. Social Security: Expatriates may be required to contribute to Nigeria’s social security system, the National Pension Scheme.
  6. Tax Returns: Expatriates are typically required to file annual tax returns with the LIRS.

LIRS’s Guidelines for Taxation of Expatriates:

The Lagos Inland Revenue Service provides clear guidelines to facilitate the taxation of expatriates:

  1. Tax Registration: Expatriates must register with the LIRS and obtain a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) upon arrival in Nigeria.
  2. Residency Determination: The LIRS assists expatriates in determining their residency status based on the number of days spent in Nigeria. This classification affects the applicable tax rates.
  3. Tax Exemptions: Some expatriates may be eligible for tax exemptions or reliefs under Nigeria’s tax laws or tax treaties. The LIRS provides guidance on claiming these benefits.
  4. Documentation: Proper documentation of income, expenses, and allowances is essential for tax compliance. The LIRS outlines the required documentation and record-keeping practices.
  5. Social Security Compliance: The LIRS assists expatriates in understanding their obligations under the National Pension Scheme, which may involve contributions by both the employee and employer.

Impact on Expatriates and Employers:

Clear guidelines for the taxation of expatriates benefit both international assignees and their employers:

  1. Compliance: Guidelines ensure that expatriates comply with Nigerian tax laws, reducing the risk of tax liabilities, penalties and legal issues.
  2. Cost Planning: Employers can better plan for the cost of international assignments by understanding the tax implications for both the company and the employee.
  3. Employee Retention: Providing guidance and support for tax compliance enhances the expatriate experience, potentially improving employee retention and satisfaction.
  4. Transparency: Transparent tax guidelines foster trust between expatriates, employers and tax authorities.


The Lagos Inland Revenue Service’s guidelines for the taxation of expatriates in Lagos are essential for ensuring that international assignees understand their tax obligations and rights. By following these guidelines, expatriates can navigate the complexities of Nigerian taxation with confidence, while employers can fulfill their obligations and provide a positive working experience for their international talent. In an era of global mobility, these guidelines reflect Lagos’ commitment to welcoming and supporting international talent while maintaining a fair and efficient tax system.

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.