Following a weekend of trending on Twitter for deducting Stamp Duty from its customers’ accounts, Access Bank Plc yesterday said it will be paying stamp duty fees on behalf of its customers for the period of February to April 2020.
Access Bank had last week notified its customers that it would be deducting the Stamp Duty charge which had accumulated between February and April this year in line with the Finance Act 2020 but the deductions had not gone down well with the customers of the bank.
Customers had taken to social media to vent accusing the bank of illegally making deductions from their account making the bank the top trending topic on Twitter from Friday till Sunday. In response to the multiple complaints, Access Bank had offered to pay the Stamp Duty charge for its customers.
In a statement which it issued on its twitter handle, Access Bank said “Earlier this week, we informed all our customers that we had inadvertently not charged stamp duty on some accounts from February to April 2020 as mandated by the Federal Government.
“Stamp Duty Charge collection is in compliance with the mandate of the ‘Finance Act. 2019 (Stamp Duty Act. Cap 58). We are required by law to apply this charge as applicable and remit all funds collected to the Federal Government.
“However we have heard our customers‘ feedback that this charge is unwelcome, especially at this time against a challenging economic backdrop. We have considered your feedback and have decided to pay the Stamp Duty on our customers‘ behalf for the affected period only; This means all individual and SMEs who were debited for the accumulated Stamp Duty charge for February to April 2020 will be refunded.
“While we still have to remit these funds via the CBN to the federal government we realise that we got it wrong by debiting our customers late, and we are refunding the affected stamp duty charge today to all affected customers.
“We hope this gesture goes some way to make thls better and we would like to thank all our customers who reached out to us to share their views.”
An official of the bank said that the bank unlike its peers had held off the deduction of stamp duty and had wanted to make it easier for the customers by doing s one off deduction. “It is not an illegal charge. The only thing on our part is that we did not do it like other banks, because ordinarily when you do a transaction we just charge you immediately but in our own case we push it till the end of the month.”
The official noted that henceforth, the bank would deduct charges for Stamp Duty alongside transactions.