Senate considers tax holidays for sponsors

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John Alechenu, Abuja

In a bid to reduce dependence on government and encourage private investment in sports, the Senate is considering a bill to give tax holidays to individuals and corporate entities engaged in sports promotion.

The bill SB 318 entitled, “A bill for an Act to provide tax holiday for corporate bodies, organisations or individuals that engage in the promotion of any sporting activities and for other connected Purposes.”

A copy of the bill,  which was accessed by The PUNCH in Abuja on Sunday,  is being sponsored by Senator Olubenga Ashafa.

The proposed piece of legislation gives the Federal Government the powers to “from time to time direct publication in the gazette a list of sports and sporting activities that can be sponsored by corporate bodies, organisations or individuals as specified in the schedule of this Act.”

It partly reads, “Any: (a) company; (b) society; (c) firm; (d) organisations; (e) statutory body institution; and (f) individuals recognised by law, not being a company, society, firm, organisation, statutory body or institutions, or  other body registered or incorporated for the purposes of promoting sports as a business or trade that engages in the promotion of sports activities shall be granted tax relief on the amount donated.

“An individual, not being a professional sport promoter; who engages in the promotion of sporting activities, shall be granted a tax holiday for a period to be determined by the Federal Inland Revenue Service.”

Specifically, Section 5 (1) of the bill stipulates that “every donation shall be made with an application to the Minister and shall be in such form as he may from time to time specify.

“(2) Every application is submitted to the minister under this section. He may require the applicant to furnish such further particulars as the minister may consider necessary to enable the council to  consider the application.”

The minister of sports is also empowered by the bill to either approve or disapprove the application after assessing the application in line with provisions of the law.

If approved, the Minister is required to issue a certificate to the applicant stating the amount of money  to be exempted from tax and the period covered by the exemption.

The bill also allows donors whether individuals or corporate entities to apply in writing to the minister to increase the amount of their donation at anytime during the tax holiday period.

Every such application is required to specify the new amount of donation and or new duration of sponsorship and shall state the reason for the application

In other to check abuse, the bill proposes a N50,000  fine or imprisonment of five years or both on conviction for individuals who make false claims for the purposes of obtaining a tax exemption certificate.

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