We do not seek to regulate tax practice in Nigeria – ICAN

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The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, ICAN has disowned claims that it seeks to regulate tax practice, among others in Nigeria.

In a statement made available to Vanguard,  Registrar/Chief Executive,  ICAN, Prof. Ahmed Kumshe, explained that it approached the National Assembly for the amendment of its enabling Act where a public hearing took place at the House of Representatives, Abuja on Wednesday, February 2, 2022.

He said that the institute was only seeking to enhance the professional competence of its members in view of the dynamic nature of the profession, to keep them abreast of new developments, enable them function better in the Public Interest and compete favorably with other professionals globally.

He added that this would  enhance the economic growth and outlook of the Nation in attracting the best investors to the country, help provide employment for Nigerians, increase the country’s international rating on transparency and ease of doing business as well as curb corrupt practices in the country among several other benefits.

Kumshe stated: “We wish to inform all stakeholders that ICAN does not want to regulate tax practice in NIGERIA. ICAN only seek it members to continue to practice tax as they have been doing right from 1965. Tax has been an integral part of accounting right from inception in Nigeria and globally.

“Accountants, Lawyers and other skilled professionals practice Tax worldwide and in Nigeria. The calculation of tax starts from profit or loss which accountants determine through financial statement. Accountants all over the world, practice tax without hindrance or being compelled to belong to another professional body to engage in this practice.

“For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to assure other allied Professional Bodies that ICAN is not planning to take over their responsibility, we are only interested in regulating our members practicing the different arms of the Accounting profession as it obtains in other clime.

“We leave it to the wisdom of lawmakers to decide whether tax regulation and practice in Nigeria should be left to the exclusivity of one professional body or subject this to more than one body as is the case with accountancy profession where both ANAN and ICAN are two professional bodies recognized to regulate accountancy practice in Nigeria. We do not claim to have such wisdom.

“A Chartered Accountant is trained to practice or hold himself out to practice as an Auditor, a Reporting Accountant, Financial Accounting and Corporate Reporting Services Practitioner, Financial Management Practitioner, Corporate Services Practitioner, Governance Risk and Compliance Services Practitioner, Tax Practitioner, an Investigations and Forensic Accounting Practitioner, an Accounting Information Systems Practitioner, an Insolvency Practitioner, a Public Finance Practitioner, a Management Consultant, Financial Advisory Services Practitioner and such other ancillary areas of Practice.

“The Institute was established by the Act of parliament No 15 of 1965 to regulate the practice of Accountancy in Nigeria, to determine the skills to be attained by persons seeking to be members of the profession and to update the skills from time to time.

“Since inception, ICAN has supported various governments in the country towards entrenching transparency and accountability in the polity. Members of the Institute have contributed to national growth and development in the various sectors they operate, both public and private.

“Over these years, the Members of the Institute had engaged in accountancy practices within the limits of its enabling Act. Specifically, it was members of the Institute that engaged in tax practice right from 1965. “The dynamics in the operating environment necessitate that the Act establishing the Institute evolves with current realities. ICAN is therefore seeking an amendment of the Act establishing the Institute to enable our members function more effectively as we continue to act in the public interest.

“It is also pertinent to state that the curriculum of the Institute had evolved over the years to accommodate developments in the accounting profession; hence one of the need for the amendment. We have done an extensive review of the current Act, against the backdrop of emerging issues, and identified key areas that have been amended which require the blessings and passage of the National Assembly as well as the assent of Mr. President.

“These amendments would further bring current practices to be in harmony with global standards and international best practices where tax practice as part of accounting practice does not require professional accountants to register with a separate body in order to practice taxation as is the case in United Kingdom, United States, Australia and New Zealand, India, South Africa, Kenya etc just to mention a few countries in international best practice,” he said.

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