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How to Calculate Company Income Tax in Nigeria


Global Payment and Compliance

How to Calculate Company Income Tax in Nigeria

In Nigeria, businesses are subject to Corporate Income Tax (CIT), calculated on their profits from the previous accounting year. Currently set at...........

July 4, 2024
min read
July 4, 2024
8 min read
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How to Calculate Company Income Tax in Nigeria

Figuring out how to work out the income tax for companies is a big part of keeping a business up and running in Nigeria. It's really important for Nigerian companies to get their heads around this process so they can stick to the rules and stay away from any fines. In this blog, we're going to walk you through everything you need to know about calculating company income tax (CIT) in Nigeria.

Understanding Company Income Tax in Nigeria (CIT)

Companies in Nigeria pay Corporate Income Tax (CIT) on their earnings. Local companies are taxed on global earnings, while foreign companies are taxed only on Nigerian income. Tax rules are set by Nigerian authorities under specific laws.

Overview of Company Income Tax

In Nigeria, businesses are subject to Corporate Income Tax (CIT), calculated on their profits from the previous accounting year. Currently set at 30% for large companies, the rules are detailed in the Finance Act, specifying payment amounts and deadlines for Nigerian operations.

The Legal Framework Governing Company Income Tax

The Federal Government oversees the legal framework for Companies Income Tax (CIT) in Nigeria through the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). CIT is levied on profits of Nigerian companies, resident and non-resident, from sources within and outside Nigeria based on the preceding year's audited financial statements. Companies must file tax returns and pay CIT within six months after their accounting year ends. Non-compliance leads to penalties and interest charges. The Finance Act updates tax laws to align with economic trends. Investment income paid by a Nigerian resident to a non-resident in Nigeria is subject to withholding tax (WHT) as final tax.

Eligibility Criteria for Company Income Tax

To qualify for Company Income Tax (CIT) in Nigeria, companies must meet specific requirements. Nigerian companies pay CIT on global earnings, while foreign companies pay tax only on income generated within Nigeria during the fiscal year from January 1 to December 31. Businesses must register and submit audited accounts and tax calculations within six months after the end of their financial year. Non-resident digital companies that have a significant economic presence (SEP) in Nigeria will also be subject to income tax on profit attributable to their taxable presence in the country.

Types of Companies Subject to Company Income Tax

In Nigeria, companies pay income tax based on their size and yearly earnings. Small companies making NGN 25 million or less are exempt. Medium-sized businesses earning between NGN 25 million and under NGN 100 million face a 20% CIT rate, while large companies making over NGN 100 million are subject to a 30% CIT rate on their worldwide income. Understanding your position based on annual sales is crucial for handling income tax in Nigeria.

Exemptions and Incentives

In Nigeria, the tax system provides breaks and perks for businesses paying Company Income Tax (CIT) to encourage investment, economic growth, and tax compliance. To qualify for these benefits, companies must meet conditions set by Nigerian tax authorities. It's essential for businesses to be aware of these opportunities to leverage advantages while ensuring accurate income tax returns and adherence to CIT laws.

Calculation of Company Income Tax Deductions

In Nigeria, when calculating company income tax, begin with the net profit indicated in the financial statements. Subtract relevant exemptions and incentives to ascertain the taxable income. Then, apply the company income tax rate (30% for large companies, 20% for small and medium companies), and include any minimum tax obligations. Precise computation is crucial for complying with tax regulations and preventing penalties from FIRS. Seeking advice from tax professionals or utilizing FIRS e-Filing can simplify this procedure.

Determining the Taxable Income

When calculating CIT income tax, businesses review their financial statements for the accounting year. They determine their tax owed by subtracting allowed expenses and deductions from net income. Allowed expenses aid in generating revenue, while deductions are costs approved by Nigerian tax authorities for deduction. Accurate financial statements are crucial for determining taxable income and any potential dividends that may be distributed to shareholders.

Applicable Tax Rates for Different Company Types

Company Income Tax (CIT) rates vary based on company size and turnover. Small companies with a gross turnover of NGN 25 million or less are exempt. Medium companies with a turnover between NGN 25 million and NGN 100 million have a 20% rate, while large companies with over NGN 100 million turnover face a 30% rate.

Company Type

Tax Rate

Small Companies


Medium Companies


Large Companies


Complying with Company Income Tax Regulations

Nigerian companies must adhere to Company Income Tax (CIT) regulations to file taxes accurately and avoid penalties. Maintaining organized paperwork, such as financial statements and tax calculations, and staying informed about tax authority requirements is crucial for timely and error-free CIT returns.

Required Documentation for Company Income Tax Filing

When filing Company Income Tax (CIT) returns in Nigeria, companies must provide tax calculations, audited financial statements, and proof of tax payment. Each company receives a Tax Identification Number (TIN) for federal tax dealings. Timely submission of correct documents is crucial for complying with CIT regulations.

Filing Deadlines and Payment Schedules

Businesses must track their Company Income Tax (CIT) deadlines to avoid tax issues. CIT returns are due within six months after the financial year ends, with an option to request a two-month extension. Payment must be made by the filing due date to avoid fines for non-compliance.

Penalties and Charges for Non-Compliance

Nigerian companies face fines and extra costs for not following Company Income Tax (CIT) rules. Late CIT returns result in a NGN 25,000 fine for the first month and an additional NGN 5,000 charge for each subsequent month. Paying late incurs a 10% penalty plus current bank interest rates. Properly fulfilling income tax duties is crucial to avoid financial penalties.

Common Penalties and How to Avoid Them

To accurately calculate a company's income tax in Nigeria and avoid penalties, it is crucial to follow the rules annually. Late CIT (Company Income Tax) returns result in fines starting at NGN 25,000 for the first month and increasing by NGN 5,000 per additional month. Non-payment incurs a penalty of 10% plus bank interest rates. For PPT (Petroleum Profits Tax), late submissions face an initial fine of NGN 10 million, escalating by NGN 2 million daily until resolved. Timely submission of paperwork and prompt tax payments are essential to avoid penalties, with the filing due date being 90 days after the end of the tax year (March 31) for employed individuals. Seeking advice from a tax expert can help companies comply with regulations and evade fines.

Digital Filing and Payment Systems Through FIRS

The FIRS in Nigeria has simplified income tax for companies by introducing digital filing and payment methods. E-filing allows online submission of tax returns, while online payment options offer speed and security. This modernization streamlines tax compliance, reducing errors and ensuring adherence to regulations efficiently. SIRS also provides digital filing and payment systems, making it easier for companies to calculate and pay income tax accurately and on time.


Businesses must understand Nigerian income tax rules to stay compliant and manage their finances effectively. This includes knowing which earnings are taxable, utilizing deductions, navigating audits, and embracing digital tax filing methods. Adhering to CIT (Company Income Tax) regulations is vital. By leveraging exemptions, incentives, and meeting filing deadlines, companies can simplify tax management and contribute positively to the economy. Maintaining organized paperwork and timely tax payments are essential for legal compliance and financial stability in Nigeria's corporate landscape.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the current Company Income Tax rate for SMEs in Nigeria?

In Nigeria, small and medium-sized businesses pay CIT based on their earnings. Businesses making NGN 25 million or less are exempt from CIT. Those earning between NGN 25 million and NGN 100 million follow a 20% CIT rate set by the Finance Act.

How can foreign companies comply with Nigeria's Company Income Tax requirements?

To comply with Nigeria's CIT rules, foreign companies must register with tax authorities, file tax returns, and possibly seek guidance from local experts. Adhering to these requirements involves paying taxes on Nigerian earnings and abiding by FIRS regulations.

Are there any sector-specific Company Income Tax considerations?

In Nigeria, calculating a company's income tax requires considering sector-specific rules. Digital companies with a significant business presence in Nigeria may need to pay taxes on profits from taxable activities here. Different industries may have specific guidelines or laws for tax calculations each year.

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