FIRS to go after 6,772 billionaire tax defaulters – Fowler

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) will soon depart after the bank accounts of defaulting taxpayers who rake billions in Nigeria and do not pay taxes, FUND chairman Tunde Fowler said.

In a FIRS statement on Sunday in Lagos, it was said that all banks in the country would be replacing on the accounts of such identified taxpayers.

"More than 6,772 such defaulted billionaire taxpayers are identified by FIRS, using data from banks," Fowler said.

He noted that the majority of such taxpayers who have N1 to N5 billion on their accounts do not have a taxpayer identification number, TIN or have a TIN and have not filed any tax returns as taxpayers.

"What we did is what we call" substitution, "which is also in our laws, which allows us to designate banks as tax collection agents.

"Thus, all these TINs, both without payment and without TIN and without payment, a total of 6,772 will have their frozen accounts or are replaced in anticipation as they come forward.

"Firstly, they refused to speak in 2016, they refused to come out with VAT and are still working here.

"Thus, we inform them that their civil liability is to pay taxes and return data to these accounts," Fowler said.

He explained that all companies, partnerships, corporate accounts that have a minimum turnover of N1 billion per year for the past three years have been considered.

He said that the law provides that, before opening a corporate account, part of the open documentation is a tax of ID.

"Out of the 23 banks that we analyzed so far, we have 31,395 entries, of which effective, minus duplication, we had 18,602.

"We divided them into three categories: those that have a TIN I.D tax, those who do not have a TIN, and of course there is no TIN without payment, and those that have a TIN and have not even paid anything.

"So, at a minimum, every company or business included here during the last three years had a banking turnover of N3 billion or more.

"Some of them had a bank turnover of more than N5 billion and did not pay a single Cobo in the form of taxes. Now the total amount of TIN and without payment is 6772, "Fowler said.

He noted that FIRS also pays more attention to the audit.

"We have launched a comprehensive audit, which includes both national and regional audits

"We reached a position when we found out that most large organizations that are allowed to make a self-assessment do not truthfully declare or pay taxes that should have been paid.

"To date, we have raised the estimate of more than N805 billion out of 1,324 national audits, of which 499 (taxpayers) have N219 billion. He can do a lot.

This can provide much more infrastructure, health care and educational facilities.

"This money, which must enter the Federation account, is distributed between federal, local and state authorities.

"Thus, each state can get another 1 billion from such money, I hope if you govern correctly, this governor will deploy it in the right place," Fowler said.

The head of the tax service warned his employees to be honest with respect to taxpayers.

He also did not spare the FIRS, even though from January to August he collected more than N1 trillion dollars for his collection in 2017.

"If you look at the revenue in 2018 for today, then from January to August we amounted to N3.5 trillion. That is N1 trillion more than in 2017.

"But the main thing that I want to do is that most of the taxpayers who took into account this income have not changed.

"The laws have not changed. And, to a large extent, the consultants of these companies have not changed.

"If you look at 2017, then compared to 2016, will increase to almost N800 billion.

"Growth in 2018 has so far shown N1 trillion.

If the same consultants advised or reviewed the accounts of most taxpayers, one might ask why such a significant increase occurred.

"These are either taxpayers who do not fully disclose their financial performance for consultants or consultants involved in tax planning.

"In any case, this is not good for the well-being of our nation, Nigeria," Fowler said.

He noted the treachery of enterprises that collect VAT and do not transfer to the government treasury.

"We found out that a number of enterprises charge VAT that is not inferior to the government,

"Thus, we are returning to the old school path, when the VAT certificate will be provided to all taxpayers, and we expect that they will display it in their places of business.

"We also found out that the number of enterprises was not even a registered taxpayer and collected VAT without tax. I.D.

"As an agent or a VAT collector, you can not transfer this VAT to the government. In short, they collected and added them to their income and spent it, "Fowler said.

The FIRS chairman noted that taxpayers can now enjoy the flexibility to choose their tax offices and online payments.

"Until now, from time to time, your tax office may be an hour's drive from your office, taxpayers can now choose where their files are located.

"You can pay anywhere in the world: in London, Dubai, New York, pay taxes on the Internet and immediately download your receipt," he said.

After giving an example of taxes, FIRS charges fees from corporations that own property, but are now valued at the value of their property turnover, Fowler explained why such property owners are assessed on taxes.

"First of all, banking turnover does not mean that it is the turnover of your business; it simply means the money that went into your account and outside it.

"But what is stated in the law on taxes is that if you do not file your income and you constantly use default, we use turnover as a basis for assessing your tax liability.

For example, if your turnover is N100 million, we assume that 20% of this is a profit, and we impose it by 30%.

"Some of them declare that they do not own property, those of them who claim that they do not own property and, of course, were sent to the government,

"The Presidium will decide what will happen to these objects, which do not have owners. Those who have owners and do not pay, they will be held accountable.

"We are also in the process of applying to the court to obtain approval of judicial orders for the sale of these facilities.

"We not only do this in Abuja, we also finished in Lagos. Currently we are doing this in Osun, Oyo, Kaduna, and eventually we will cover the whole federation.

"The idea here is simple, if you had the opportunity to make your wealth in this economy, in this society, you can do less than pay your tax.

"We have not included any group that by law does not have to pay tax in this group.

"So far we have sent out 2980 letters, and we believe that by the end of September we will get the majority of them," he said. (NAN)

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