Understanding the Digital Economy Provisions in the Nigeria Finance Act 2020.





As an audit firm dedicated to educating and empowering our prospective customers, this article provides insights into the digital economy provisions introduced by the Nigeria Finance Act 2020. The Act recognizes the growing significance of the digital economy and aims to ensure that digital businesses operating in Nigeria contribute their fair share of taxes. Understanding these provisions is essential for businesses in the digital space to comply with the new tax regulations, optimize their tax planning, and navigate the evolving digital landscape.


  1. Taxation of Digital Services Provided by Foreign Companies:

One of the significant changes introduced by the Finance Act 2020 is the taxation of digital services provided by foreign companies. This measure seeks to capture revenue from digital services delivered to Nigerian consumers. Foreign companies providing digital services like software, e-books, streaming platforms, online advertising, and cloud-based services may be required to register for Value Added Tax (VAT) in Nigeria and charge VAT on their services.


  1. Implementation of the “Significant Economic Presence” (SEP) Concept:

The Finance Act 2020 adopted the concept of “Significant Economic Presence” (SEP) to tax digital businesses with a substantial economic presence in Nigeria. This means that digital companies with significant user bases, digital transactions, or economic activities in Nigeria may be subject to corporate income tax, even if they do not have a physical presence in the country.

  1. Digital Transactions Subject to VAT:

The Act expanded the scope of VAT to cover digital transactions and e-commerce activities. This includes transactions conducted over the internet, such as the sale of goods and services, online advertising, and electronic payments. Businesses engaged in digital transactions may now be required to charge VAT on these activities and remit the tax to the tax authorities.


  1. Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) Requirements for Digital Service Providers:

To ensure compliance and accurate tax collection, the Finance Act 2020 requires digital service providers to obtain a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). This measure helps the tax authorities identify and monitor digital businesses operating in Nigeria.


  1. Tax Withholding Obligations for Digital Transactions:

The Act introduced tax withholding obligations on companies making payments for digital services to non-resident providers. This means that companies making payments to foreign digital service providers must withhold the applicable taxes and remit them to the tax authorities on behalf of the non-resident providers.


  1. Impact on Digital Startups and E-commerce Platforms:

The digital economy provisions have implications for digital startups and e-commerce platforms operating in Nigeria. These businesses need to understand the new tax obligations, register for VAT and obtain TINs, and comply with the tax withholding requirements when dealing with non-resident providers.


  1. Compliance Challenges and Opportunities:

The Finance Act 2020 presents both compliance challenges and opportunities for businesses in the digital economy. Compliance with the new tax regulations requires accurate record-keeping, timely tax filing, and adherence to VAT and tax withholding requirements. On the other hand, understanding the available tax reliefs and incentives for the digital sector can help businesses optimize their tax positions.



The digital economy provisions introduced by the Nigeria Finance Act 2020 reflect the government’s commitment to capturing revenue from digital transactions and ensuring that digital businesses contribute their fair share of taxes. Businesses operating in the digital space must understand these provisions, comply with the new tax regulations, and optimize their tax planning strategies. As an audit firm, we are committed to assisting our prospective customers in understanding and navigating the digital economy provisions of the Finance Act 2020, providing them with the knowledge and guidance needed to thrive in the evolving Nigerian tax landscape and digital business environment.


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