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FIRS recovers N97.7bn from tax defaulters

By News Express on 12/09/2019

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Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Babatunde Fowler, has said the agency recovered over N97.7 billion from tax defaulters since it gave the directive to banks to put a lien on tax defaulters’ bank account.

Fowler made the disclosure yesterday in Abuja at the 49th Annual Accountants Conference organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN).

He said that under the tax substitution programme, FIRS intensified its efforts to collect taxes from default payers by appointing banks and other financial institutions as collection agents.

With the step, he said that banks as tax collecting agents were directed to make specific deductions from alleged tax defaulters’ accounts and pay such over to the FIRS in full or partial payment of the alleged tax debt.

Prior to the action, he said the agency had granted tax amnesty programmes such as the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) without much success.

He said that through the substitution exercises, FIRS increased tax revenue collection through special tax audit, VAIDS, special investigation and the banking turnover initiatives.

He went further to say that so far, 3,976 out of 44,293 non-compliant companies have paid about N97.7 billion.

Giving a breakdown of the money recovered, he said that through the banking turnover exercise, the Service recovered N88.59 billion after reaching agreement with 3,797 out of 42,736 companies.

In addition to that, he said that 74 out of 406 companies have paid about N4 billion under the special tax audit substitution exercise.

According to him, FIRS realised N3.84 billion after reaching agreement with 79 out of 800 companies under the VAIDS substitution exercise.

He said that through the special investigation substitution exercise, 47 out of 351 companies have paid N2.06bn.

The FIRS boss also cautioned banks against sabotaging the directive to restrict access to specific bank accounts.

He said: “As at today, there are a total of 23,141 tax defaulters who are yet to come forward to clear their outstanding liabilities of about N254 billion.

“FIRS, in collaboration with the banks, have started engaging in compliance measures with regards to the tax defaulters and their accounts. Failure to carry out this directive will result in the banks being sanctioned according to Section 31 subsection 1-3 and 32 respectively of FIRS Act 2007.”

He enjoined taxpayers to comply with payment as, according to him, non-compliance will attract sanction. The action is being contested by shades of opinion.

FIRS, however, defended the stance of the Service, stating that it will do all within its powers to boost tax collections. (New Telegraph)

Source News Express

Posted 12/09/2019 12:52:44 PM





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