VAT Implications for Non-Resident Suppliers Doing Business in Lagos: A Comprehensive Guide.


Lagos, Nigeria’s economic hub, attracts businesses from around the world, including non-resident suppliers looking to tap into the vast consumer market. However, understanding and complying with Value Added Tax (VAT) regulations in Lagos is essential for non-resident suppliers to operate legally and efficiently. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide to the VAT implications for non-resident suppliers doing business in Lagos.

VAT in Lagos: An Overview

Value Added Tax (VAT) is a consumption tax levied on the value added to goods and services at each stage of production or distribution. It is a crucial source of revenue for the Lagos Inland Revenue Service (LIRS) and plays a significant role in funding public services and infrastructure development in Lagos State.

Applicability of VAT to Non-Resident Suppliers:

Non-resident suppliers doing business in Lagos may be subject to VAT regulations under certain conditions. Here are key considerations:

  1. Threshold for Registration: Non-resident suppliers must register for VAT with the LIRS if their annual turnover from taxable supplies in Lagos exceeds the prescribed threshold. The threshold is determined by the LIRS and is subject to change.
  2. Taxable Supplies: VAT is applicable to the supply of goods and services deemed taxable under Nigerian VAT law. It is essential to understand which goods and services fall within the scope of VAT.

VAT Registration for Non-Resident Suppliers:

If a non-resident supplier meets the registration threshold, they must take the following steps to comply with VAT regulations:

  1. Apply for VAT Registration: Submit an application for VAT registration to the LIRS. The application should include all required documentation and information.
  2. Tax Identification Number (TIN): Obtain a Tax Identification Number (TIN) from the LIRS. This unique identifier is essential for tax transactions.
  3. Collect VAT on Supplies: Non-resident suppliers must collect VAT on taxable supplies made in Lagos. The VAT collected is referred to as output VAT.
  4. Claim Input VAT: Non-resident suppliers can also claim input VAT incurred on eligible business expenses, such as raw materials and services directly related to taxable supplies.
  5. File VAT Returns: File periodic VAT returns with the LIRS, typically on a monthly or quarterly basis, depending on the business turnover.

Challenges and Compliance Risks:

Non-resident suppliers doing business in Lagos may face the following challenges and compliance risks related to VAT:

  1. Complexity: VAT regulations can be complex, and keeping up with changes and compliance requirements can be challenging.
  2. Exchange Rate Risks: Currency fluctuations can impact VAT calculations, especially for non-resident suppliers dealing with foreign currency transactions.
  3. Documentation Burden: Maintaining detailed records of transactions, VAT invoices, and receipts is crucial for compliance but can be administratively burdensome.
  4. Penalties: Non-compliance with VAT regulations can result in penalties, fines, and legal consequences.


Understanding and complying with VAT regulations is essential for non-resident suppliers to do business successfully and legally in Lagos. While it can be challenging, especially in a foreign business environment, proper VAT planning, collaboration with local tax experts, and meticulous record-keeping can help mitigate risks and ensure compliance with Lagos’ VAT laws. Staying informed about regulatory changes is also crucial for non-resident suppliers to maintain a competitive edge in this dynamic market.

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.