Everything You Need to Know About Tax Planning in Nigeria 

Everything You Need to Know About Tax Planning in Nigeria 

Tax Planning in Nigeria

Tax planning is a smart money management strategy businesses employ to pay less to the government. It includes using allowed deductions, exemptions, and other benefits specified by the tax rules to reduce the amount of tax you have to pay without breaking any laws. Tax planning in Nigeria is similar to what we have in other countries.

Understanding the Nigerian tax system and using effective strategies to save on taxes can help your company make more money and grow in the long run. In Nigeria, the tax landscape can be complex, with various regulations and rules. Staying informed about the specific tax incentives and credits available for businesses is essential.

By staying proactive and seeking professional advice when needed, you can navigate the Nigerian tax system more effectively and contribute to the financial success of your business. This article will explain everything you need to know about tax planning and the best strategies you can employ to save on taxes.

What is Tax Planning?

Tax planning is a smart financial strategy that helps businesses pay less taxes within the law. The aim is to improve your financial situation by using allowed deductions, credits, and exemptions to reduce your overall tax bill. This involves timing your financial moves wisely and making smart investment choices for the best tax outcomes.

You must understand tax laws, rules, and incentives to do tax planning well. It’s not just about reducing your taxes now; it also includes planning for long-term goals like retirement and wealth management. Being proactive is key, and this involves staying informed about changes in tax laws, adjusting your strategies accordingly, and getting professional advice when needed.

Types of Taxes Charged Against Businesses in Nigeria

Income tax

Income tax is a direct tax businesses pay on the money they make. It’s a percentage of their total income, which includes earnings from sales, services, and other activities. Businesses calculate this tax after subtracting allowable expenses and deductions.

In an income tax return, businesses must report their financial activities to the government annually. The tax rate can vary based on the type of business and applicable laws. In Nigeria, companies deal with company income Tax, while sole proprietors and partnerships handle Personal Income Tax.

Self-employment tax 

Self-employment tax is a tax specifically for individuals who work independently. Sole proprietors and partners are obligated to pay this tax, which is calculated based on the income earned by their businesses. The self-employment tax rate varies, ranging from a minimum of 7% to a maximum of 24%, depending on the business’s income level.

Employee tax 

Employee tax, commonly called Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) tax, is a fundamental component of the taxation system in many countries. This income tax is systematically withheld at the source, meaning it is deducted directly from the salaries and wages of employees by their employers before the employees receive their net pay.

Capital gains tax 

Capital gains tax is a tax on the profit realized from selling capital assets, such as real estate, stocks, or other investments. This tax is calculated based on the difference between the asset’s sale price and its original purchase price, often referred to as the capital gain. 

Value Added Tax (VAT) 

Value Added Tax (VAT) is a consumption tax applied to goods and services. Merchants in most states collect this tax from customers during transactions and are then responsible for forwarding the accumulated VAT to the state’s revenue department.

Why is Tax Planning Important?

Tax planning is essential for several reasons, and they include:

Cost savings

It helps you legally reduce your overall tax liability by taking advantage of deductions, credits, and exemptions, leading to cost savings. This extra money can be redirected toward investments, personal savings, or business expansion.

Financial efficiency

Tax planning contributes to financial efficiency by helping you strategically manage your cash flow through the timing of income and expenses. This efficiency lets you plan for major expenses, emergencies, or investment opportunities.

Legal compliance

It ensures you comply with tax laws and regulations, preventing potential legal consequences. Staying compliant protects your financial standing and reputation, avoiding penalties and legal issues.

Long-term financial goals

Tax planning is integral to achieving your long-term financial goals, such as retirement planning and wealth transfer strategies. By optimizing your tax position, you can accumulate more wealth over time to secure your financial future.

Business growth and competitiveness

Tax planning can contribute to growth and competitiveness for businesses by optimizing tax positions and freeing up resources for investment and expansion. It enhances your ability to compete in the market and adapt to changing business landscapes.

Avoiding penalties and audits

Proper tax planning helps avoid penalties and audits by accurately reporting income, deductions, and credits. This saves you money and reduces the stress and disruptions associated with audits.

Adapting to changing tax laws

Regular tax planning enables you to adapt to changes in tax laws, ensuring you benefit from available incentives and comply with new regulations. Staying informed and proactive protects you from unexpected tax burdens.

Asset protection

Specific tax planning strategies contribute to asset protection, helping you safeguard your wealth and minimize potential risks. This protection is vital for securing your financial well-being and your family.

Strategic decision-making

Tax planning is integral to strategic decision-making by considering the tax implications of various financial choices, allowing you to make informed decisions aligned with your objectives. It ensures that your financial decisions are not only sound but also tax-efficient.

Top 10 Tax Planning Strategies in Nigeria

In this section, we’ll delve into different tax planning strategies for businesses in Nigeria. 

1. Start early 

Timely decisions about tax payments are crucial. It’s essential to act before the tax payment deadline to avoid being stuck with the current tax liability. The earlier you gather important information, the more time you’ll have to address it. 

For instance, if your business expects a significant gain from investments, it might increase your income for the current year. This could mean more taxes unless you apply deductions to bring your income closer to last year’s level.

2. Stay informed on tax regulations

Tax regulations in Nigeria can change over time. To plan your tax strategy effectively, staying updated on the latest rules, allowances, and exemptions is crucial. Consult reliable sources like the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) regularly and consider seeking guidance from a qualified tax professional who can help you navigate the complexities of Nigerian tax laws.

3. Take advantage of investment incentives

The Nigerian government provides different investment incentives to encourage economic growth and attract investments. Learn about these incentives, which include pioneer status, tax holidays, and exemptions tailored for specific industries or regions. These incentives can substantially decrease your tax obligations and release resources for expanding your business and investing.

4. Create a tax calendar 

A highly effective tax planning strategy involves creating a tax calendar. This lets you anticipate and plan by monitoring your state’s deadlines for various small business taxes. 

Business owners can organise essential documents and information by marking significant dates or months when taxes are due, preventing last-minute emergencies. This proactive approach ensures a smoother tax management process.

5. Proper money management 

Small businesses must practice effective financial management by ensuring timely payments. Certain taxes need to be paid quarterly or monthly, and having the necessary funds readily available is essential. Small business owners may make the mistake of using funds for daily business operations, leaving insufficient funds for tax payments when they are due. This oversight can result in additional sanctions and penalties for the business.

6. Make the most of depreciation 

Depreciation ensures that the reduction in the value of a business’s assets is acknowledged as an expense. This accounting method can be employed to lower the taxable income that a business is obligated to pay. This results in an offset with the taxable income, ultimately leading to a reduced tax payment.

7. Leverage capital allowances 

Capital allowances enable businesses to deduct the depreciation of specific assets used for business purposes, such as buildings, machinery, vehicles, and computer systems. 

Understanding the relevant rates and regulations for capital allowances is crucial for optimizing deductions and lowering taxable income. It’s advisable to seek guidance from a tax professional to ensure precise and compliant calculations.

8. ​​Consider incorporation and entity structure

Selecting the appropriate business structure can carry notable tax consequences. Opting for the incorporation of your business as a limited liability company (LLC) can offer advantages like limited liability protection and potential tax benefits. 

It is recommended to seek advice from legal and tax experts to identify the most fitting entity structure for your business, considering factors like liability, scalability, and tax optimization.

9. Utilize allowable business expenses

Understanding and correctly categorising allowable business expenses is essential for maximizing deductions. In Nigeria, eligible business expenses include rent, salaries and wages, utility bills, advertising costs, professional fees, training expenses, and travel expenses directly related to business operations. You can optimize deductions and reduce your taxable income by carefully tracking and documenting these expenses.

10. Seek help from experienced tax professionals

The Nigerian tax system can be complex, so it’s a smart move to hire qualified tax professionals. These experts are well-versed in local tax laws and can assist you in meeting compliance requirements, identifying eligible deductions and incentives, and ensuring accurate tax filings. 

Working with professionals allows you to focus on growing your business with the assurance that your tax strategy is in capable hands. Some include KPMG Nigeria, PwC Nigeria, Deloitte Nigeria, and Nemoz Consult Limited. 

In Conclusion 

Businesses can enhance the efficiency of their tax management by incorporating the tax planning strategies outlined above. 

This minimises stress and maximizes the utilization of available deductions, leading to significant cost savings that can be allocated for other business purposes.


What are the problems of tax planning in Nigeria? 

Tax planning in Nigeria encounters challenges such as poor administration, lack of data, and insufficient infrastructure and policy implementation. 

How can revenue be generated in Nigeria? 

The country’s main sources of government revenue are tax and non-tax revenues. Taxation primarily serves to fund public services. Given the unique nature of the economy, these sources manifest as both oil and non-oil revenue.

What is the method for calculating VAT in Nigeria?

To calculate 7.5% VAT on an inclusive amount, multiply the net amount by 1.20 to obtain the gross amount. If you wish to find the VAT within the total, divide the gross amount by 15, then multiply the result by 100 to get the net amount. 

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