Banks risk legal suits for deducting money from customers’ accounts

List Of Banks In Nigeria
List Of Banks In Nigeria

A number of banking industry stakeholders have openly called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to withdraw its circular mandating banks to collect stamp duties from customers’ bank accounts, stressing that such directive and practice is unconstitutional.

According to them, if the practice of deducting stamp duties from customers’ bank accounts is not suspended, it is expected that other stakeholders would challenge the banks in court, on a case by case basis.

Thus, the impending legal suits that would emanate as a result are likely to disrupt the activities of banks and result to additional legal costs, they warned.

Stakeholders at various occasions have also charged deposit money banks to suspend the practice of collecting stamp duties on receipts for deposits and transfers by customers.

The Stamp Duties Act (SDA), Chapter S8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004 (SDA) provides the legal basis for the imposition and collection of stamp duties in Nigeria.

A tax audit and financial advisory services firm, Deloitte, in a document titled: “Stamp Duties on Bank Deposits and Transfers: Are There Unresolved Issues?” and obtained by Tribune Online stated that, stamp duties are chargeable on all instruments relating to matters executed between a company and individual, group or body of individuals and those executed between persons or individuals. The instruments the firm noted, upon which stamp duties are chargeable include bond, bill of exchange, promissory note, covenant, conveyance on sale, lease, mortgage, among others.

This general rule according to the tax experts did not include receipts for transfer to self, transfers from savings accounts and receipts in respect of salaries and wages, yet, further to a statement issued by CBN on 21 January 2016  banks have continued to deduct these duties.

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