VAT Treatment of Leasing and Renting Services for SMEs in Nigeria: Navigating the Rental Realm.


Leasing and renting services have become integral to the business landscape, providing flexibility and cost-effective solutions for Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria. While these services offer convenience, they also raise questions about their Value Added Tax (VAT) implications. Understanding how VAT applies to leasing and renting services is essential for SMEs to ensure accurate compliance and optimize financial planning.

The VAT Landscape for Leasing and Renting Services:

VAT is a consumption tax applied to the value added to goods and services at each stage of the supply chain. In the context of leasing and renting, VAT considerations apply to both lessors (owners) and lessees (users) of assets.

  • VAT Registration:

SMEs engaging in leasing or renting activities should register for VAT with the Nigerian Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) if their annual turnover exceeds the mandatory VAT registration threshold (currently ₦25 million). Voluntary registration may also be opted for, particularly to optimize input VAT recovery.

  • Lessor’s VAT on Leasing Services:

Lessees engaging in leasing agreements for assets like machinery or equipment are generally subject to VAT. Lessors are required to charge VAT on the leasing fee and remit it to the tax authorities.

  • Input VAT Recovery for Lessors:

Lessors can recover input VAT incurred on the purchase, maintenance, or improvement of leased assets. Proper record-keeping and VAT coding are essential for optimizing input VAT recovery.

  • VAT on Renting of Real Property:

Renting or leasing of real property, such as commercial spaces, is generally exempt from VAT. However, there are exceptions, such as furnished apartments, which may attract VAT.

  • VAT on Ancillary Services:

Ancillary services provided in conjunction with leasing or renting, such as maintenance or insurance, may have different VAT treatment. Businesses should understand the specific rules governing such services.

  • Reverse Charge Mechanism:

For certain leasing arrangements, the reverse charge mechanism may apply, shifting the responsibility of VAT remittance from the lessor to the lessee.

  • Transparent Invoicing and VAT:

SMEs engaged in leasing and renting should provide transparent invoices to lessees, clearly stating the VAT amount separately.

  • Compliance with VAT Filing and Reporting:

Timely and accurate filing of VAT returns is crucial. SMEs should stay informed about filing deadlines and maintain proper documentation.

  •   Collaboration with Tax Professionals:

Given the complexities of VAT in leasing and renting, collaborating with tax professionals or accounting experts ensures compliance and effective tax planning.


VAT compliance in leasing and renting services requires a nuanced understanding of regulations to ensure fair treatment for both lessors and lessees. By grasping the VAT implications, optimizing input VAT recovery, and implementing robust record-keeping practices, SMEs can navigate the world of leasing and renting services with confidence.

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.