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July 15, 2021

Nigerian Tax Authority issues guidance on Stamp Duties compliance

Executive summary

On 3 June 2021, Nigeria’s Tax Authority, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) issued Information Circular No: 2021/12 titled “Clarifications on the provisions of the Stamp Duties Act” (the Circular). The Circular is the latest in a series of publications by the FIRS providing clarifications and guidance to taxpayers on the administration and compliance related to stamp duties in Nigeria. The Circular replaces the prior Information Circular of 2020/05, dated 29 April 2020.

Among other issues, the Circular addresses matters relating to dutiable receipts, online transactions not supported by formal documentation, determination of electronic documents received in Nigeria for stamp duty purposes, the Electronic Money Transfer Levy, time for stamping contracts, compliance procedures and punitive measures for non-compliance. The Circular is intended to provide clarity for compliance and ease of administration.

Detailed discussion

The guidance clarifies the following terms and provisions under the SDA.

Definition of “receipts” issued as acknowledgement for payment

These include any note, memorandum or writing where any money is acknowledged to have been received or any debt or demand is acknowledged to have been settled or discharged whether signed or not. These could be printed or written, available in an e-mail or short message service (SMS) or any other electronic media, web or internet-based messaging.

It also includes any form of electronic acknowledgement of money for dutiable transactions.

Agreements not supported by formal documentation

Where no formal agreement is drawn to support a transaction, any electronic correspondence evidencing the transaction shall be the basis for stamp duties.

Electronic documents “received” in Nigeria

An electronic document executed outside Nigeria is received in Nigeria if it is stored in, retrieved or accessed from any electronic device or computer in Nigeria.

Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL)

This is a NGN50 levy payable by the recipient of any electronic transfer or money deposit of an amount from NGN10,000 or greater transferred/deposited in any deposit money bank or financial institution.

It excludes transfers/deposits between two accounts maintained by the same person in the same bank.

The charge of the EMTL does not preclude the charge of stamp duty on any transaction that would otherwise be subject to stamp duty.

Time to stamp contracts

All contracts are to be stamped no later than 14 days after execution.

Failure to comply with the Stamp Duties obligations

  • Prosecution for offenses under the Act
  • Payment of penalties of various degrees
  • Inability to use the instrument as evidence in court or other judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings
  • Enforcement actions


For additional information with respect to this Alert, please contact the following:

Ernst & Young Nigeria, Lagos

Ernst & Young Société d’Avocats, Pan African Tax – Transfer Pricing Desk, Paris

Ernst & Young LLP (United Kingdom), Pan African Tax Desk, London

Ernst & Young LLP (United States), Pan African Tax Desk, New York


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