Personal Income Tax in Nigeria

Personal Income Tax in Nigeria

Personal Income Tax

Personal income tax is an essential aspect of every working Nigerian’s financial journey. Understanding its intricacies, complying with regulations, and utilizing strategies can significantly on one’s financial well-being. In this article, we made a quality attempt to walk you through, navigating the Nigerian tax system, the definition and purpose of taxable income, filing obligations, calculations, exemptions, reliefs, and recent updates. We went further to provide you with expert knowledge and insights needed to navigate the Nigerian tax system as an individual.

What is Personal Income Tax, and Why Does it Matter?

Personal Income Tax

Personal income tax is a direct tax levied on the income earned by individuals, partnerships, and trustees in Nigeria. It matters because it serves as a crucial revenue source for the government, enabling the provision of public services and infrastructure development. Understanding your tax obligations empowers you to fulfill your civic duty while making informed financial decisions. Let’s explore why personal income tax matters and its implications for individuals and the country as a whole.

Fulfilling Civic Duty

Paying personal income tax is a civic duty and a legal obligation for individuals in Nigeria. It reflects one’s contribution to the nation’s development and the provision of essential public services. By fulfilling this duty, individuals actively participate in the progress and well-being of their communities and the country at large.

Revenue Generation

Personal income tax is a crucial revenue source for the Nigerian government. It provides the funds necessary to finance public services and infrastructure development. These services include education, healthcare, transportation, security, and social welfare programs. By paying personal income tax, individuals contribute directly to the economic growth and stability of the nation.

Funding Public Services

Personal income tax plays a pivotal role in ensuring the availability and quality of public services. It enables the government to invest in educational institutions, improving access to quality education for all Nigerians. It also supports the healthcare system, ensuring the availability of medical facilities, treatments, and healthcare professionals. Additionally, personal income tax helps maintain and enhance transportation networks, providing efficient mobility and connectivity.

How is your Income Taxed?

Personal income tax in Nigeria is calculated based on the taxable income of individuals. Taxable income is derived by subtracting allowable deductions, reliefs, and exemptions from the gross income. Let’s explore the key elements involved in the calculation of personal income tax in Nigeria:

Gross Income

Gross income refers to the total income earned by an individual from various sources, including salaries, wages, bonuses, allowances, pensions, trade or business profits, rental income, interest, dividends, and capital gains. It encompasses all income received before any deductions or exemptions.

Allowable Deductions

Certain deductions are allowed to reduce the taxable income. These deductions may include contributions to pension schemes, National Housing Fund contributions, National Health Insurance Scheme contributions, and life insurance premiums. Deductions are subtracted from the gross income to arrive at the adjusted gross income.


Reliefs are specific allowances that further reduce taxable income. The Personal Income Tax Act (PITA) provides various reliefs, such as dependents’ relief, consolidated relief allowance, and relief for contributions to pension schemes. These reliefs aim to alleviate the tax burden on individuals and promote social welfare. Let’s delve deeper into the various reliefs available in the Nigerian personal income tax system.

Dependents’ Relief

Dependents’ relief is a common type of relief that aims to support individuals with dependents, such as children, spouses, or other family members who rely on their income. The relief allows individuals to deduct a specific amount from their taxable income for each dependent. The exact amount eligible for deduction varies and is determined by tax laws and regulations.

Consolidated Relief Allowance (CRA)

The Consolidated Relief Allowance (CRA) is another relief mechanism that reduces an individual’s taxable income. It is a fixed percentage applied to the individual’s total income before any deductions or reliefs. The CRA aims to provide general relief for all taxpayers, regardless of their specific circumstances.

Relief for Contributions to Pension Schemes

Individuals who contribute to approved pension schemes are eligible for relief on the amount contributed. This relief incentivizes individuals to save for retirement and secure their financial future. The relief reduces the individual’s taxable income by the amount contributed to the pension scheme, subject to specific limits and regulations.

Relief for Contributions to the National Housing Fund (NHF)

The National Housing Fund (NHF) provides affordable housing options for Nigerians. Individuals who contribute to the NHF are eligible for relief on the amount contributed. The relief reduces the individual’s taxable income by the amount contributed to the NHF, subject to certain limits and guidelines.

Relief for Life Insurance Premiums

Life insurance is an essential component of financial planning. The Nigerian tax system offers relief on life insurance premiums paid to encourage individuals to obtain life insurance coverage. The relief allows individuals to deduct the amount spent on life insurance premiums from their taxable income.

Reliefs in the Nigerian personal income tax system serve as valuable tools for reducing an individual’s taxable income and minimizing their overall tax liability. By understanding the various reliefs, such as dependents’ relief, the Consolidated Relief Allowance (CRA), relief for contributions to pension schemes, relief for contributions to the National Housing Fund (NHF), and relief for life insurance premiums, individuals can effectively plan their taxes, optimize their financial position, and contribute to their economic well-being.

Taxable Income

After deducting allowable deductions and applying for relief, the remaining income is known as taxable income. Taxable income represents the portion of an individual’s income that is subject to taxation.

Tax Rates

Nigeria’s income tax system follows a progressive tax rate structure, where tax rates increase as income levels rise. The rates are structured into different income bands or tax brackets. The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) provides the tax rates at the federal level, while individual states may have their tax rates within the range specified by the Personal Income Tax Act (PITA).

The tax rates at the federal level for 2023 are as follows:

S/NTax BandRate
2₦300,001 – ₦3,500,00011%
3₦3,500,001 – ₦7,000,00015%
4₦7,000,001 – ₦20,000,00019%
Personal Income Tax Rates in Nigeria

This can also be gotten from the FIRS Website

It is important to note that the above rates apply to residents in Nigeria. Non-resident individuals may be subject to different tax rates, and specific rules apply to their taxation.

In addition to the federal rates, individual states have the discretion to set their tax rates. The states must adhere to the minimum and maximum rates stipulated by the PITA. Therefore, the applicable tax rates may vary depending on the state in which an individual resides.

Understanding the tax rates is essential for individuals to estimate their tax liability accurately. It is important to ensure compliance with the appropriate tax rates for the relevant jurisdiction to avoid penalties or legal consequences.

Individuals should consult tax professionals or utilize tax calculation software to ensure accurate calculations and stay updated with any changes in tax rates or regulations. The specific tax rates applicable to an individual’s income level and state of residence should be carefully considered when calculating personal income tax obligations.

Tax Calculation

To calculate personal income tax, individuals can use the tax tables provided by the relevant tax authority or seek assistance from professional tax advisors. The tax liability is determined by applying the applicable tax rate to the taxable income. Let’s consider a practical example to illustrate the concept of taxable income in the Nigerian personal income tax system.

Suppose Mr Ahmed, a resident of Nigeria, has an annual gross income of ₦5,000,000. He is eligible for certain deductions and has two dependents (his spouse and one child). Let’s calculate his taxable income based on the given information.

Gross Income: ₦5,000,000 

Allowable Deductions: Mr Ahmed contributes ₦200,000 to an approved pension scheme, and he has made National Housing Fund (NHF) contributions of ₦100,000 during the year. 

Gross Income: ₦5,000,000 

Less: Pension Contribution: ₦200,000 

Less: NHF Contribution: ₦100,000 

Adjusted Gross Income: ₦4,700,000 

Reliefs: Mr Ahmed is eligible for dependents’ relief for his spouse and child. Let’s assume the dependents’ relief amount is ₦100,000 per dependent.

Dependents’ Relief: 2 dependents x ₦100,000 = ₦200,000

Taxable Income: To calculate the taxable income, we subtract the reliefs from the adjusted gross income.

Adjusted Gross Income: ₦4,700,000

Less: Dependents’ Relief: ₦200,000

Taxable Income: ₦4,500,000

In this example, Mr Ahmed’s taxable income is ₦4,500,000. This means that he will be liable to pay personal income tax based on this amount. To calculate the actual tax liability, we need to apply the applicable tax rates to the taxable income, considering the federal tax rates and any specific state rates (if applicable).

It’s important to note that tax rates may change over time, and specific rules and regulations should be followed to ensure accurate tax calculations. Consulting tax professionals or referring to the relevant tax authorities are recommended to obtain the most up-to-date and accurate information for individual tax calculations.

The Impact of Personal Income Tax on Investments

Personal income tax can have various implications for individuals’ investments. The way personal income tax affects investments depends on several factors, including the type of investment, the tax laws and regulations in the specific jurisdiction, and the individual’s overall financial situation. Let’s explore some key ways in which personal income tax can impact investments.

Taxation of Investment Income

The income generated from investments, such as dividends, interest, rental income, and capital gains, is often subject to personal income tax. The tax rates and treatment of investment income may vary depending on the specific investment type and the tax laws in place. Individuals need to understand the tax implications related to their specific investments to accurately assess their after-tax returns.

Personal income tax considerations should be an integral part of an individual’s investment and asset allocation strategy. Understanding the tax implications of different investment options can help investors make informed decisions that align with their financial goals and tax obligations. This may involve selecting tax-efficient investment vehicles, diversifying investments across different asset classes, and considering the timing of investment transactions to optimize tax outcomes.

Final thought

To conclude this short but long article, personal income tax can have a significant impact on investments. Individuals need to consider the tax implications related to their investment income, capital gains, and investment-related expenses. By understanding the tax rules and regulations, individuals can make informed investment decisions, optimize their after-tax returns, and effectively plan for their financial future. Consulting with tax professionals or financial advisors is recommended to navigate the complexities of personal income tax and its impact on investments.

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