As an employer or an employee in Nigeria, understanding the intricacies of calculating employee taxes is very important to ensure compliance with the country’s tax regulations. Employee tax calculation involves various components, and it is essential to grasp the process to avoid penalties and ensure accurate deductions. In this blog post, I will talk about the steps to calculate employee tax in Nigeria.

How to Calculate Employee Tax in Nigeria: A Comprehensive Guide

What is Employee Tax in Nigeria?

In Nigeria, employee tax refers to the taxes that are deducted from an employee’s salary or income by their employer on behalf of the government. These taxes are collected to fund public services, infrastructure, and various government initiatives. Employee tax is a vital component of the country’s revenue generation and plays a significant role in sustaining the economy and funding essential services for the welfare of citizens.

There are two primary types of employee taxes in Nigeria:

  1. Personal Income Tax (PIT): Personal Income Tax is the tax levied on the income of individuals, including employees, self-employed individuals, and entrepreneurs. In the case of employees, PIT is deducted by their employers from their salaries or wages on a monthly basis. Employers are responsible for calculating and remitting the deducted tax to the appropriate tax authority, usually the State Internal Revenue Service (SIRS).
  2. Pension Contributions: Another important aspect of employee taxes in Nigeria is pension contributions. Both employers and employees are required to make contributions to the National Pension Scheme (PENCOM) under the Pension Reform Act of 2014. These contributions are made to secure the financial future of employees during their retirement.

The employee tax system in Nigeria operates on a progressive tax scale, where higher-income earners are subject to higher tax rates. The tax rates for different income brackets are specified by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and may change over time.

Also read: Value Added Tax Explained: What is VAT and How To Calculate It

It is important to note that the tax laws and rates are subject to change as the government updates its policies and regulations. Therefore, both employers and employees need to stay informed about the latest tax rules to ensure compliance with the law and avoid any potential penalties or legal issues. Seeking advice from tax professionals or consulting the appropriate tax authorities is advisable for accurate and up-to-date information on employee taxes in Nigeria.

How to Calculate Employee Tax in Nigeria

Follow the steps explained below if you want to know how to calculate employee tax in Nigeria.

Step 1: Determine the Taxable Income

The first step in calculating employee tax is to determine the taxable income. This income includes basic salary, allowances, bonuses, benefits in kind, and any other compensation received by the employee. Allowances such as housing, transport, and meal allowances are subject to specific regulations and may be partially or wholly taxable.

Step 2: Identify Tax-Exempt Items

Before proceeding, it is crucial to identify tax-exempt items that should not be included in the taxable income. Some common examples of tax-exempt items include contributions to the National Housing Fund (NHF), National Pension Scheme (PENCOM), and National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

Step 3: Calculate Gross Income

After identifying taxable income and deducting tax-exempt items, the next step is to calculate the gross income. The gross income is the total taxable income before applying any tax deductions.

Step 4: Determine Reliefs and Allowances

In Nigeria, there are various reliefs and allowances available to employees to reduce their tax liability. Some of the common reliefs include:

  • Personal Allowance: A fixed amount that can be deducted from the gross income before calculating tax
  • Consolidated Relief Allowance (CRA): This is 20% of the total income plus N200,000.
  • Dependent Relative Relief: Available for employees supporting their parents, children, or relatives.

Step 5: Calculate Taxable Income

Subtract the total reliefs and allowances from the gross income to arrive at the taxable income.

Step 6: Apply the Appropriate Tax Rates

In Nigeria, employee taxes are calculated based on a progressive tax system, where tax rates vary depending on income levels. The applicable tax rates for different income brackets are specified by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). As of the knowledge cutoff in September 2021, the tax rates were as follows:

7% for the first N300,000

11% for the next N300,000

15% for the next N500,000

19% for the next N500,000

21% for the next N1,600,000

24% for the amount above N3,200,000

However, it is important to verify the current tax rates with the FIRS, as these rates may have been updated since then.

Step 7: Compute the Tax Payable

Multiply the taxable income by the applicable tax rate to calculate the tax payable.

Step 8: Deduct Withholding Tax

In some cases, employers are required to deduct withholding tax from certain payments made to employees. These payments include interest on loans, dividends, and other specified transactions. The rate for withholding tax varies based on the specific payment and is usually specified by the FIRS.


Calculating employee tax in Nigeria can be a complex process due to various components involved, including taxable income, reliefs, and tax rates. Employers and employees should collaborate to ensure accurate calculations and timely remittances to the tax authorities. It is essential to stay updated with the latest tax regulations and consult tax professionals when necessary to comply with the ever-changing tax laws in Nigeria.

Remember, accurate tax calculations not only demonstrate ethical business practices but also contribute to the growth and development of the nation by ensuring proper tax revenue collection for essential services and infrastructure.