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FIRS may seal accounts of tax evaders



By Nsikan Ikpe
As part of efforts to expand the tax net, Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, may soon be requesting banks in the country to temporarily place a lien on accounts of organisations who do not regularly comply with their tax obligations.

This is coming after the service had previously expressed its readiness to go after multinational companies, corporate organisations and individuals who are evading payment of taxes in the country.

Reliable source opined that the move is part of a renewed effort by the agency to boost tax revenue to fund the various projects and programmes of the Federal Government.

FIRS statistics revealed that out of the 450,000 companies in Nigeria, only 125,000, representing 27.7 per cent, pay any form of taxes.

Going by this figure, it implies that about 325,000 companies are evading tax, thus denying the government huge revenue annually.

In the 2015 fiscal year, the FIRS was given a revenue generation target of N4.5tn by the Federal Government and it has so far generated N2.667tn.

Findings showed that between January and July the service had collected a total sum of N2.374tn against the target of N2.667trn, thus having a revenue shortfall of N290bn within the seven-month period.

The past Chairman of the FIRS, Sunday Ogungbesan, had said the service was finding it difficult to track the financial activities of those who did not pay taxes, as most of the evaders were no longer active.

But the Acting Executive Chairman, FIRS, Mr. Babatunde Fowler, in his first official meeting with the management staff of the service, was said to have vowed to ensure that all tax revenue due to the government would be recovered from all tax payers.

Fowler said his administration would not take the issue of tax evasion lightly, as he was aware that some foreign companies that were operating in Nigeria were being investigated in England for evading taxes.

With this development, feelers by The Difference at the weekend indicated that many organisations who may be affected by the new push may already be mulling plans to comply.


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