Table of Contents
- 1 WHAT MODE OF TAXES SHOULD BLOGGERS PAY?
- 2 Value Added Tax
- 3 Withholding Tax
- 4 Did Seun get away with this? YES!
- 5 LEGAL AND FINANCIAL ISSUES ASSOCIATED WITH BLOGGING IN NIGERIA
WHAT MODE OF TAXES SHOULD BLOGGERS PAY?
According to Nos 1a and b, 2, 3 and 8, Part II under Section 1 of the Taxes and Levies (Approved List for Collection) Act 1998 No 2, 1998, it states that every taxable individual must pay tax to the government.
The denominator of the matter is that as a business which earns money, a blog and its itinerant income is expected to remit tax.
Every overhead costs and deductions have to be made attendant to the activities on the blog. A taxable blogger must affirm all revisited goods, sponsorships on your blog, buying of ads and generally anything valuable item bestowed on you. In order to make sure one is taking advantage of as many deductions as one legitimately qualifies for, it is important to seek professional help from a tax professional. The taxes that involve bloggers are-
Most of the website owners who run advertisement, ad revenues collected from local advertisers should involve a payment of 5% VAT, which also include the charge for adverts.
VAT is currently not charged for all exports outside Nigeria. This means that foreign advertisers should not be charged an additional five per cent VAT whenever you bill them or structure your advert tables to suit foreign clients.
One isn’t required to pay VAT for products whose income is derived outside Nigeria. This applies to advert income from Google Adsense, foreign affiliate marketers etc. If the advert agency being used is Google and because Google is not registered in Nigeria as an ad agency or client, VAT isn’t applicable.
Withholding tax by the books, is removed on contract of purchases or services represented in an invoice.
Companies who pay you to advertise their products on your website should not remove withholding from your invoice except you are under a contract. This is because the ads are placed on your website are in the ordinary course of business. A large number of advertisers make the error of subtracting the amount meant for withholding tax from the bloggers fee because they asked for invoice. Signing contracts makes it binding by the law to pay VAT, so just give it an informal colouration.
To answer the question of Seun dealing with issues from the Nigeria company and the foreign company. He argued that He is a hobby blogger and as such is not expected to pay taxes. More so that these services requested from his platform are plainly what he does for fun which the companies intend to leverage on. Whether or not both companies decided to treat it as a taxable expense/ expenditure is left to them as a strategic and financial decision, but to him? NO WAY, NO TAX.
Did Seun get away with this? YES!
But it may not be so for you!
LEGAL AND FINANCIAL ISSUES ASSOCIATED WITH BLOGGING IN NIGERIA
First it is pertinent to note that blogging is a serious and engaging business and is seen as one by the law. As such, hobby bloggers are not part of the mix in this sense since they are not making any appreciable income from it. The discourse is referring to bloggers who are into it full time and are making a living off it. They are required to incorporate the business to make it formal in the eyes of the law, and put up an appropriate business structure. Still, there are guidelines and rules associated with the operation of online businesses that would ensure a smooth sail.
DEFAMATION/INFRINGEMENT OF COPYRIGHT
As a blogger, he or she is liable and responsible for whatever appears on the webpage. When a blogger posts material that is demeaning or damaging to a person or organization’s public image or character, maybe due to malice or unprofessionalism, he is said to have defamed character, and is liable for it.
There are two parts to defamation, namely slander and libel, but libel appeals more to blogging, especially news and opinion blogging. It is unfortunate that even if it was posted in the comments section by someone else, the blogger is liable for it. As long as its false, published on the blog and hurtful to the individual or group, its on.
The Cybercrime Act 2015, recognises offences like knowingly sending a message or in our context, posting one, which is ‘…false, for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, ill will or needless anxiety to another…is liable on conviction to a fine of not more than N7m or imprisonment for a term of not more than 3 years or to both such fine and imprisonment..’ (Section 24)
The best thing to do as a publisher is to double check facts before posting them to be sure of its authenticity. Possibly, reference how the information was received.
Again, it is best to be careful about reposting and reblogging. . If a blogger reposts false information, then he or she has published it on the blog as well and is liable for whatever penalties that come with it.
Some bloggers have a terms and condition page which indemnifies them from whatever comments posted in that section of the blog. It helps as well. But it is best to personally monitor and moderate your comments, to avoid such shades of trouble. Sometimes people use fictitious names or accounts or even anonymous accounts to dish comments. There are ways of ascertaining the identities of followers, like linking to their social media pages and others.
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ISSUES
Because blogging is intellectual work, much of it has to be protected such as to give the original rights to whom it is due. It is an offence to copy part or a complete version of someone’s work without referencing or acknowledging the person. It is called plagiarism. This happens with written material, concepts, images, and other material.
So, in order to avoid plagiarism, you need to always seek for and obtain express permission before using a part of or the entire work. It doesn’t have to be stressful to obtain permission to use a particular work.
Since blogging has become a money spinner for the blogger, it is important to give it a professional outlook. This even projects a serious image to clients.
Get the business incorporated. All you need to know about registration for business name is here to check out.
Also get your blog structured, register for tax and VAT, including the Taxpayers Identification Number (TIN) and set about managing your money. Work with invoices because one needs it for various financial evaluations, and then be formal enough to contextualize dealings with firms and companies.
Do you have further comments, opinions on the subject, please feel free to drop them in the comments below. Alternatively you can reach out to Adetola on [email protected] if you require any advisory or consulting on tax.