VAT Compliance for Service-Based Businesses in Nigeria.


In Nigeria, service-based businesses play a significant role in the economy, offering a wide range of services, including consulting, professional services, IT, marketing, and more. Like other businesses, service-based enterprises are subject to Value Added Tax (VAT) regulations and must comply with the VAT laws to maintain financial integrity and avoid penalties. As a reputable accounting firm in Nigeria, we aim to guide service-based businesses on VAT compliance and help them navigate the complexities of the VAT system.

  • Understanding VAT for Service-Based Businesses:

VAT is a consumption tax levied on the value added to goods and services at each stage of the supply chain. For service-based businesses, VAT is applicable to the provision of taxable services to their clients.

  • VAT Registration:

Service-based businesses in Nigeria are required to register for VAT with the Nigerian Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) once their annual turnover exceeds the mandatory VAT registration threshold. Voluntary registration is also available for businesses that do not meet the threshold but wish to avail of input VAT recovery benefits.

  • VAT on Services Rendered:

Service-based businesses must charge VAT on their taxable services. The VAT rate is currently 7.5% in Nigeria. When invoicing clients, businesses should clearly state the VAT amount separately.

  • Input VAT Recovery:

VAT paid on business-related expenses, such as office supplies, equipment, and professional fees, is known as input VAT. Service-based businesses can claim input VAT credits to offset against their output VAT liabilities. Proper record-keeping and VAT coding of expenses are essential for successful input VAT recovery.

  • VAT and Electronic Services:

In the digital age, many service-based businesses offer electronic services, such as online consulting, software subscriptions, or digital downloads. These services may have unique VAT implications, and businesses must correctly account for VAT based on the location of the customer.

  • VAT on Exports of Services:

Service-based businesses providing services to clients outside Nigeria may qualify for zero-rating, meaning the VAT rate is 0%. This applies to certain exportable services, and businesses must maintain proper records to support zero-rated transactions.

  • Compliance with VAT Filing and Reporting:

Service-based businesses are required to file their VAT returns promptly, typically on a monthly or quarterly basis, depending on their turnover. Timely VAT filing and reporting are crucial to avoid penalties and maintain good standing with tax authorities.

  • Collaboration with Tax Professionals:

Navigating VAT compliance for service-based businesses can be complex, especially with varying VAT treatment of different services and cross-border transactions. Engaging with tax professionals or accounting experts can provide valuable guidance, ensuring businesses adhere to VAT regulations and optimize input VAT recovery.


VAT compliance is a critical aspect of doing business for service-based enterprises in Nigeria. Understanding VAT regulations, maintaining proper records, invoicing correctly, and optimizing input VAT recovery are essential for successful VAT compliance. As a reputable accounting firm in Nigeria, we are committed to supporting service-based businesses, providing expert guidance, and ensuring VAT compliance for their continued growth and financial success in Nigeria’s thriving service industry.

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.