Real Estate Professionals Urge FG to Rescind Action on New Stamp Duty Charge

As the debate on the new stamp duty charge on house rent and C-of-O by the federal inland revenue service (FIRS) rages, estate surveyors and valuers have lent their voice to the debate, urging the federal government to rescind action on the new tax.

The real estate professionals under the aegis of Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) noted that the new tax regime lends itself to being counterproductive in the face of the ravaging impact of the global health emergency called coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

However, the institution which is a critical stakeholder in the built environment has advocated for a N1000 flat rate stamp duty charge on this category of instrument.

Landed property and real estate, according to the institution, are veritable tools for economic recovery and development, hence government should take advantage of this factor of production to escape recession and steer the country onto the path of economic sustainability.

“While property is universally acknowledged as a veritable vehicle of recovery from recession, albeit economic depression, it is a gross anathema to introduce a tax regime that will frustrate land and property transactions and development,” said Emmanuel Wike the President of NISEV, at a press conference in Lagos on Tuesday.

Wike explained that housing and property development were already overburdened with multiple taxes like the building plan fees, governor’s consent fees, capital gains tax, development levy, land use charge, capital transfer tax, withholding tax, VAT among others.

“We must state emphatically that the 1.5 percent ad-valorem charges on deeds, power of attorney and MoU documents which are instruments of physical developments will stifle investments in housing and real estate,” Wike said.

He opined that the introduction of a revised stamp duty tax regime by FIRS will only worsen the precarious economic situation of the poor and the citizenry in general.

Accordingly, the institution is of the view that Nigerians would rather request for government intervention by way of palliatives and financial stimulus packages at a critical time like this when most businesses are still struggling to get back to full capacity to cushion the effects of the pandemic and set the stage for a gradual and sustainable recovery of the economy.

Adedotun Bamigbola, chairman, NIESV, Lagos chapter, said the implementation process of the new stamp duty regime is a challenge as it would place more burden on the people, especially players in the built environment and real estate industry.

According to him, the NIESV as a professional body is concerned about the long-term effect of the new tax regime on the people and the built environment in general.

Bamigbola opined that only about 15 of the 55 categories affect land resources, land titles and others; however, only one of the 15 that is, the C-of-O is based on a specified amount while others are based on rates.

Source: Business Day

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