IS TAX IDENTIFICATION NUMBER (TIN) REQUIRED FOR OPERATING PERSONAL ACCOUNTS
The newly enacted Finance Bill has as one of its proposed innovations the requirement of a tax identification number (TIN) for opening a bank account for business purposes. This is contrary to the widespread erroneous belief that TIN is necessary for operating personal accounts. The Act provides that ‘there is a requirement of a TIN for one to open a bank account specifically for business purposes’. The key word in that provision is ‘business’, which implies that this change does not in any way affect people who are not involved in any form of business. However, as long as anyone operates any form of business, it is necessary that such person obtains TIN to open a bank account for that purpose. This is to ensure that people do not escape paying taxes meant to generate revenue for the government to provide better living conditions. The law in fact makes provision for a reasonable time frame to allow existing business bank accounts owners to get their TIN before closing the accounts.
It is also important for the public to understand that the process for applying for a TIN is not a complex one. The world operates digitally today, and so anyone who has a bank verification number (BVN) or National Identity Number (NIN) can simply register online for TIN through the Joint Board Tax website. The individual simply fills the TIN application form online, providing his personal details. That is all- his TIN is generated within 48hours. An individual can go to the nearest tax office to generate his TIN which is usually expected not to take time. The requirements for companies who want to obtain their TIN number are business name registration certificates or certificates of incorporation showing the registration number and such documents showing the date the business started, the current address and the principal location. With these, the company fills the TIN application form and its TIN is generated.
Taiwo Oyedele, a member of the ministerial committee on the implementation of Nigeria’s National Tax Policy, in an interview with PlusTV, educates the public that it is possible to find situations where a TIN has been attached to a BVN automatically when an individual opens a bank account. Thus, this individual just need to log in to the Joint Board Tax website, click on the verification link which only requires the individual’s date of birth and BVN, and automatically the TIN is provided. The government is working on making the process even easier, such that you can get your TIN at your bank once you have your BVN. The cost of acquiring a TIN is completely free as long as a third party is not involved or there is a penalty clause for failing to generate TIN within given timeframe.
In conclusion, it is important that everyone understands that the TIN is only a prerequisite for individuals operating business bank accounts and that the process of acquiring the TIN is an easy one, contrary to the erroneous belief that it is complex and rigorous. It is also important that everyone acknowledges that the Finance Act is a good development, if correctly and properly taken advantage of. The Finance Act is the reformation existing tax laws need to ensure that tax evasion is drastically reduced and our tax laws are aligned with global standards.
By Peace Solomon.
Peace is a 300level Law student with a budding interest in Commercial law, Taxation, Maritime Law and Energy. She is passionate about making impact in lives. You can reach her via
Twitter – @PeaceSolomonn