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FIRS freezes 6,772 accounts, generates N3.5 trillion in eight months



The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has said it generated N3.5 trillion for Federal Government between the months of January and September 2018.The Executive Chairman, FIRS, Tunde Fowler, who disclosed this in Lagos, during a stakeholders meeting, said the amount generated was N1trillion higher than the revenue it recorded in the corresponding period of 2017.
While reeling out the statistics that showed how the agency has fared since 2016, Fowler stated that FIRS had a bank turnover of more than N5 billion from those who have not paid taxes.He said the 23 banks the agency has so far analysed, there were about “31,395 records, out of which, effectively, minus duplications, we have 18,602” that attracted attention.
“We broke these into three categories- those that have Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TIN); those that have no TIN and of course, no TIN, no payment; and those that have TINs and are not even paying anything.”According to him, the total number of “TINs and no pay,” and “no TIN and no pay” is 6,772, which would soon have their accounts frozen or put under substitution, pending when they come forward.
“First of all, they refused to come forward in 2016; they also refused to come forward under the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) and now, we are putting them on notice that it is their civic responsibility to pay taxes and to file all audit accounts.”He said that government would sell properties built and developed in corporate names across the country on which taxes were not being paid. He however, admitted that some have paid when contacted, but warned that FIRS “will go to court to get approval or court order to sell those properties”, whose owners are irresponsive. We are not only doing that in Abuja, but also in Lagos. We are currently going to Osun, Oyo, Kaduna and eventually, we will cover the whole federation.”
While calling on banks to support the service, the FIRS chief announced that the service has come up with a consolidated data base for all tax payers in Nigeria, which he said would be ready before the end of the month of September.
Meanwhile, Fowler stated that the service would commence audit of taxpayers across the country, to ensure increased tax revenue collection, improved service delivery to tax payers and enhanced voluntary compliance.Some of the stakeholders, who commended the service for the efforts made to deepen tax administration in the country, urged that taxes collected by relevant government agencies be appropriately remitted, while the issue of multiple taxation across tiers of government be adequately addressed.

The Head of Tax at KPMG, Wole Abayomi, explained the need for tax reforms and bemoaned the  10-year period it took after the previous tax reforms was done, saying it should now be a yearly affair.He also expressed worry that three months after VAIDS’ deadline, no action has been taken by government, “so that those paying their tax accurately would not feel shortchanged.”

A representative of Andersen Tax, Chinedu Ezomike, canvassed guidelines on how small businesses in the informal sector can be helped to pay taxes without affecting their operations negatively.

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FIRSTunde Fowler
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