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FIRS to start charging Nigerians for whatsapp messages

Valentine Chinyem

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Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has revealed plans to start charging Nigerians whose SMS and Whatsapp messages acknowledge their transactions on electronic platforms.

The fees, according to the statement, would be in form of stamp duties and would cover POS transactions, ATM transaction and all electronic transactions in general.

The statement reads in part, “ABZ Ltd’s chief accounting officer, after receiving a cash payment of N500,000 from Mr. XYZ on behalf of ABZ Ltd., composed a message which reads: ‘receipt of N500,000 is hereby acknowledged’ and sent same to Mr. XYZ via WhatsApp messenger”.

“In this case, the WhatsApp message acknowledging the receipt of N500,000 constitutes a receipt for which stamp duty is payable.

“Mr XYZ is required to make a disclosure of the details of the transaction using FIRS e-stamp duty platform or to the relevant stamp duties Commissioner.

More so, the statement added that, “Such certificate or acknowledgement will suffice as evidence that stamp duties have been paid and that the electronic receipt has been stamped appropriately.”

“All electronic dutiable instruments or receipts”, including e-mails, short message service (sms), instant messages (IM), any internet-based messaging service, are subject to stamp duty.”