The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Thursday joined the Lagos State Government in the appeal by the Federal Inland Revenue Service challenging the laws by some states to directly collect Value Added Tax.
The three-member panel of justices, in a unanimous judgment, held that Lagos State had established beyond doubt that it had substantial and sufficient legal right and interest to protect in the revenue collection dispute.
Justice Haruna Simon Tsamani, who read the main judgment, ordered the service of all processes filed in respect of the appeal on Lagos as a third respondent to enable it to respond in the matter.
While fixing October 7 for the continuation of further hearing, the judge also ordered that the matter be moved from Abuja to Port Harcourt division of the Court of Appeal for further hearing.
The appeal arose after the FIRS had challenged an order of a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt on August 9 which upheld the powers of the state to collect VAT and Personal Income Tax.
Following the appeal, the court, on September 10, ruled that the status quo be maintained in the law passed by both Rivers and Lagos States’ Assemblies assented to by both state governors for the collection of VAT pending the determination of issues in the appeal.
Lagos state had in September sought to be joined as a co-respondent in the appeal filed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service on the Value Added Tax suit.
The Oyo State Government, according to a statement issued on Tuesday, had also asked the Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, to join the suit instituted by the Rivers State government against the Attorney-General of the Federation in respect to the bid by the state to take over the collection of the Value Added Tax from the Federal Government.