How to Apply for TIN (Tax Identification Number) in Nigeria

I have been receiving a lot of calls in recent times about how to apply for TIN in Nigeria. You will find in here all the detailed steps you need to know to apply for your tax identification number.

How to Apply for TIN

Are you a Nigerian citizen working for a private organization or with the government. You own a business or you have the intention to start one? It is important that you know what a tax identification number is, and not only know but you also possess one.

A lot of small business owners believe that registering their business names with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) is all they need to be known as serious businessmen/women. However for an entity to be recognized in Nigeria, it goes way beyond registering with the CAC but also registering for tax.

I have your attention right? Let’s start with identifying what exactly is a taxpayer identification number (TIN).

What is a TIN?

The tax identification number (TIN) is a unique identifier for an individual or a company for the specific purpose of tax remittance. The TIN number is prepared by the tax office and issued to individuals or registered business / incorporated companies for proper identification and verification.

Why do I need a TIN?

As a business or individual, TIN is important because that is what shows that you are a registered tax payer in Nigeria, and as you know that tax payment is made compulsory, every company, business, individual must have their own unique tax identification number. After completion of registration with the tax office, the entity or individual is issued a TIN.

Remember that registration for tax is a legal obligation for everyone who is required by LAW to remit taxes in Nigeria.

If your company or business operates for profit and income is generated from Nigeria, then you are required by law to apply for TIN. Please note that incorporated trustees DO NOT require TIN! Take note of THIS!

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Do I hear you ask again, why you need a TIN?

What else do I need a TIN for apart from tax identification?

There are other important things that a TIN can be used for apart from identifying a business or individual as a registered tax payer. These things are equally important as well:

  1. Opening of business accounts
  2. Application for government loans
  3. For foreign exchange and receipt of capital importation into the country
  4. A TIN is necessary for licenses relating to trade, import and export
  5. Registration of cars
  6. Certificate of occupancy application
  7. To obtain the tax clearance certificate for individuals and companies which shows that you are a tax compliant business
  8. To obtain tax incentives, tax waivers and certain tax allowances. Remember the recent pioneer incentive given to TSTV Africa?

How much will it cost me to apply for my TIN?

Applying for TIN is totally free IF YOU DO IT ON YOUR OWN and if you have not incurred any tax penalty based on the time-frame given according to the LAW to obtain your TIN, either as an individual or as a company. There are no fees to be paid unless you intend to employ third parties to assist you in registering and obtaining the TIN.

There could be a lot of bottlenecks in the back and forth involved in liaising with the tax authorities for the receipt of your TIN. It will be better to shift the responsibilities on a third party so you can focus on more strategic aspects of the business.

How long does it take to obtain my TIN?

The TIN processing by the various tax offices should not take more than 10 working days, however it may take longer based on the back and forth as mentioned above and also the various tax offices having to struggle with backlogs of requests and capacity deficiency with respect to treating TIN requests. It is therefore not uncommon to see certain cases where the TIN receipt processes drag on for about a month to two months.

The tax office will not send you a notification when your TIN is ready, therefore, the onus lie on you to check after the numbers of days given to check back has elapsed.

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How to Apply for TIN: Companies / Business names

Application for TIN as a registered company

All registration statements have been made by the Joint tax board on registering for the TIN here. If you are also the tech-savvy business person, you can do all your TIN registration online by checking the FIRS service platform here.

You need to know the various documents you would need to apply for TIN as a company already incorporated. Head over to the Federal Inland Revenue Service office closest to your company’s registered address in the list that is here, with the following documents

  • Certificate of Incorporation forms CAC2 and CAC7
  • Your memorandum and article of aasociation
  • Your company seal – this will be used to stamp the TIN registration forms at the FIRS office.
  • Utility Bill – PHCN or Water bills
  • A written application to the office of the FIRS chairman on your company’s letter headed paper
  • The completed TIN application form ( The FIRS office gives this form in triplicates, so you are expected to fill and submit the forms). The tax application will request for the following information:
  • Name of your Company
  • Registered Office of your company
  • Business Address of your company ( you may leave this blank if your registered office is same as your business address)
  • Precise Nature of your Business
  • Date of company Incorporation
  • Date the Company Commenced Business
  • Accounting Date of your company
  • Name and Address of Banker(s) ( if you have opened a bank account)
  • Particulars of Major Shareholders of your company
  • Particulars of Directors of your company
  • Name and Address of Auditors for your company
  • Name and Address of Tax Representative of your company

Please note that you would need to make as much photocopies of these documents as possible, because the originals will not be received by the tax office. They are basically for sighting purpose. The photocopies will be stamped and received as evidence that you have applied for TIN.

For Registered business names

Also, if you are a registered business name and not an incorporated company. Then you need to apply for your TIN via the VAT registration, there was a recent unification by the FIRS office whereby your VAT number will double as your TIN registration number. You can check out how you can register for VAT in this article here.

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Also, in some situations, registration for TIN also comes simultaneously as registration for companies income tax and also value added tax as stated above. This can be possible if your incorporated business or company has been in operation within six months.

As soon as you receive your TIN, this should be displayed on all your official documents especially instruments of business/ financial transactions like your invoices. This is extremely key and important in the eventuality of a tax audit by any of the tax offices. The fact that the tax office now operates an integrated tax office now makes everything easy for tax payers.

Remember that registration for TIN also triggers other mandatory monthly tax filings like the VAT and Withholding tax returns. You can move away from the headache of making all these filings yourself by seeking the services of a tax consultant for advice and assistance.

You will be expected to quote your tax identification number alongside the name of your business any time you have dealings with the tax office. This is important.

How to apply for TIN: Individuals

Application for TIN as an individual

You have to head over to the nearest Inland Revenue Office along with the original and photocopies of your national ID card like your driver’s license, permanent voters’ card, International passport, etc.

You will also be required to complete and submit an application form.


After registration and obtaining my TIN, what other things do I need to know?

There is a process called TIN update and validation after obtaining a TIN. This ensures that the new TIN is confirmed and meets all other important conditions for business registration and transaction with other government parastatals and bodies like the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) among others.