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IKOYI CLUB SUES' LG OVER ALLEGED NON-PAYMENT OF ENTERTAINMENT TAX

In a bid to forestall a forcibly sealing and locking up its premises, over an allege non-payment of entertainment tax, the incorporated trustees of one of the foremost social club in Nigeria, Ikoyi Club 1938, has instituted a civil suit against Eti -Osa Local government before a Lagos Federal High Court, Ikoyi. 
       
ikoyi Club 1938, in its statement of claim filed before the court by its Lawyer, Barrister Ubong Akpan, averred that as an entity registered by section 590(1) of the company and Allied Matter Act Laws of the Federation 2004, Cap.20, and by virtue of being a friendly registered society, formed solely for the purpose of promoting sporting activities, it is exempted from the payment of tax on profit by virtue of section 23 (1)(a) and (d) of the Companies income tax.     
      
However, the Club state the local government by final demand notice dated August 26, 2015, issued by Constancy Nigeria Limited, the revenue consultant to the Ikoyi -Obalende Local Council Development Area, gave the Club notice that unless it paid for Merriment and  Entertainment  Permit in the sum of N1,040,000 (reference to earlier demand notice of July 9, 2015) within seven days from the date of receipt of the notice, legal proceedings would ensue. 
     
And that by 72 hours reminder notice dated September 2, 2015 Constancy Nigeria Limited, again gave the club notice that unless it paid for Merriment and Entertainment permit in the sum of N1,040,000 within 3 days from the date of receipt of the notice, sealing of the premises of the Club, legal suit would ensue.
     
The Operation manager of the club visited the consultant's office to determine the model behind the calculation of N1,040,000 for the club, he was told that the club hosts a party or entertainment function on a weekly basis and as such was to pay N20, 000 multiply 52 weeks, which resulted at N1, 040, 000, per annum.
     
Disagree with the above Council's calculation, and insisting that the Club has only Pub Nite hosted on monthly basis thereby committed to pay and did pay N20,000 multiply by 12months=N240,000
      
However, by notice of intention to sue dated November 13, 2015, the consultant gave the club notice that unless payment of License/Merriment and Entertainment permit in the sum of N800,000 was received, the consultant shall proceed to the court to enforce payment with its attendant cost thereafter.
    
The club, by form A (li), Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)summons dated, December 10, 2015, was summoned by the customary Court of Lagos state sitting in Maroko Victoria island to appear before the said court, at 1-7 Muri Okunola street, Victoria island, Lagos, on December 15, 2015, to answer a criminal complaint of failure to obtain Entertainment and Merriment Licence Permit for the year 2015 contrary to and punishable under section 2 and 10 of the local government rates and levies  Law and merriment number of year 2015.
       
The plaintiff contended that, not being a person mentioned in the schedule of the merriment tax law to wit: The leader of a musical band that performs, or the operator of a hired musical amplifier used at a social party or ceremony held either in a public place or within the premises, is not liable to pay merriment tax law within the meaning of the Merriment Tax law. In addition Lagos state has not, by order published in the Gazette added to the classes of entertainment in the schedule to the law which specifically sets out the persons liable to pay Entertainment tax
     
Consequently, the Club while demanding for a refund of N240, 000, paid wrongly by the club to Eti-Osa Local Government, is also urging the court to restrain the local Government and its agents from forcibly sealing and locking the club's premises and chase away the staff of the club. 
       
The local Government has not file any defence to the suit.
       
Meanwhile the court has adjourned till after vacation when the legal battle will resume.

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