Overview of CITN Statement of Taxation Standards (STS) 3 – Procedural Aspects of Filing Returns

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Taxation is a unique profession dealing more in law, tax policies and the manner of treatment of tax elements regulated by legal pronouncements. This is quite unlike the accounting profession, which hitherto had Statement of Accounting Standards, International Accounting Standards and now, the International Financial Reporting Standards which provides how accounting elements are to be recognized, measured, reported and disclosed in financial reports and statements. The practice of tax and whatever professional advice that a tax practitioner is providing, therefore, must be in accordance with the respective pronouncements of the tax laws.

CITN Statement of Taxation Standard (STS) Three on Procedural Aspect of Filling Returns was issued and gazetted in the Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette Vol. 100 of June 2013. The standard became effective from 1st January 2013. The standard sets out the applicable canons for tax practitioners on the obligation to examine or verify certain supporting data or to consider information related to another taxpayer when preparing a taxpayer’s tax return.

Statement of Taxation Standards (STS) Three is divided into five sections:

  1. Part 1 (One)- The introduction
  2. Part 2 (Two)- Explanatory Notes
  3. Part 3 (Three)- Taxation Standard
  4. Part 4 (Four) – Compliance with Legal Requirements
  5. Part 5 (Five) – Effective Date

Parts 1, 2 and 3 present the standards, Part 4 requires compliance with any disclosure requirement of the Companies Income Tax Act CAP C21 of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 as amended to date, the Personal Income Tax Act and any other relevant laws. Part 5 discloses the effective date of the Standard, which is 1 January, 2013.

Guidance on STS Three

  1. All taxpayers- corporate and individual need to file an annual return at the end of each financial year with the respective tax authorities in Nigeria. A tax return is primarily a taxpayer’s representation of facts, and the taxpayer has the final responsibility for positions taken on the return.
  2. It has been observed that members are often faced with challenges in filing returns. When acting for a client, a member may in good faith rely on information furnished by the taxpayer or by third parties. However, a member should not ignore the implications of not verifying information supplied by the taxpayer and should make every reasonable inquiry if the information furnished appears to be incorrect, incomplete, or inconsistent either on its face or based on other facts known to the member.
  3. where the tax law or regulations impose a condition for deductibility or other tax treatment of an item, such as taxpayers’ maintenance of books and records, a member should take reasonable steps to determine, to his/her satisfaction that such conditions have been met.
  4. When preparing a tax return, a member should consider information known to him/her from the tax return of another taxpayer if the information is relevant to that tax return and its consideration is necessary to properly prepare that tax return. In so doing, a member should consider the provisions of the Institute’s Professional Rules and Practice Guidelines on confidentiality as well as any other limitations imposed by any law or rule relating to confidentiality.
  5. In as much as a member stands as an advocate to the taxpayer, the member should endeavour to ensure that the taxpayer does not overpay tax. The member also holds a duty of civic responsibility to the nation to ensure that the FIRS and SIRSs are not short-changed.
  6. Although, a member is not required to audit the tax returns supporting data, however, efforts should be made to satisfy himself that the supporting data, appears to be correct and complete.


Annual Return is a mandatory compliance for all taxpayers in Nigeria as required by the Companies Income Tax Act CAP C21 of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 as amended to date, the Personal Income Tax Act and other extant tax laws. The Standard recommends that a member should be satisfied with the returns to which he/she associates which is correct, complete and consistent both on the face and basis of other facts known to the member. The extant laws and regulations should be consistently applied to ensure that pertinent disclosure provisions are complied with.

Members and stakeholders are invited to visit https://app.citn.org/home/tpgs to download the CITN Statement of Taxation Standards 1-9, and the Institute’s Professional Rules and Practice Guidelines.

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