FIRS Goes After 85,000 Millionaire Tax Defaulters

By Tony Obiechina, ABUJA

The Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Tunde Fowler on Thursday disclosed that the Service, in collaboration with other stakeholders including the Nigeria Police Force, will continue to go after wealthy tax defaulters in 2019.
Fowler, who stated this on Thursday when the Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar Adamu paid a courtesy visit to the Revenue House in Abuja also disclosed   that the Service had realized the sum of N23 billion following its scrutiny of the books of over 45, 000 tax defaulters, each of which had over N 100 million as turnover in their accounts.
The Service, he said is going after another set of 40, 000 millionaire tax defaulters in 2019.
According to a statement by FIRS Head of Communications, Wahab Gbadamosi, the Executive Chairman requested the Nigeria Police to help the Service bring the tax defaulters to pay their taxes.
Fowler had at a Management retreat in Lagos last month spoke of FIRS’s plan to identify and tax bank account holders with over 100 million as turnover but with no evidence of tax payment.
“We looked at businesses, partnerships of any activity that has banking turnover between N100 million and N999 million. We have done the review of this group of businesses. We have about seven more banks that we are still waiting for return from and to review their information. So far, we have 45,361 that have TIN and are making payments.

“We have 40,611 that have TIN, that made tax payment and, and we have 44,504 that have no TIN and no pay. So, when you look at it from a glance, we have close to 75,000 in this group that are still not taxpayers and we have said the payment of tax is not only for the civil servants. it’s for all Nigerians. So, the millionaires and the billionaires will pay tax on behalf of what is due to the national coffers”, Fowler said.
“With the e-payment channel one can pay taxes with the click of a button and one can also download their receipts. Other e-Services are the e-Registration, e-Filing, -Stamp Duty and e-Tax Clearance Certificate.

“Taxpayers can now also choose the tax office where they would like to conduct their tax transactions. Before now, if one was registered with a particular tax office, one had to conduct all of their tax transactions in that office. However, to make it more convenient for the taxpayer, they can now choose which ever office they wish to conduct their transactions with.
He noted that Nigerian taxpayers are embracing the modern way of tax collection, introduced by the FIRS through the 6-e Solutions.
Said Fowler: We are automating the collection of Value Added Tax, VAT in key sectors which will facilitate reduction in compliance cost in the long term. We are doing System to system integration between banks and FIRS. And I am happy to announce to you that we had a 31% increase year on year in VAT collection in the banks that have gone live between Jan 2017- Dec 2018 and collected 25bn so far
“Amongst others, there is also the Government Information Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS), which links FIRS to the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation OAGF for real-time exchange of information and data.  We are also automating the payment of VAT by states through the State Offices of Accountant General Platform (SAG). This will ensure that we automate and deduct at source and remittance of VAT and WHT from State governments contract payments directly to FIRS’s account and so far, collected 13bn.
He noted that taxpayers requested for and processed their Tax Clearance Certificate, TCC through, from the comfort of their homes. “Tax clearance on the platform grew from 9,574 – 59,350 within a year of introducing the platform.
“Auto VAT collection in key sectors has also facilitated in reducing the cost of compliance. Between January, 2017 and December, 2018 VAT collection increased by 31% which translates to a collection of N25 billion”, he added.

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