FIRS details EFCC on tax evaders as tax amnesty ends
Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) may soon go after recalcitrant taxpayers who also failed to use the opportunity of a tax amnesty, Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) to offset their tax liabilities.
The Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS, Tunde Fowler, recently confirmed that government will not extend VAIDS which ended on March 31st, adding that the next approach to it will be for the FIRS, partnership with law enforcement agencies, to prosecute defaulters.
Discover Africa News learned that Fowler had a meeting with the EFCC Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, today in Abuja where Fowler detailed the EFCC on list of non-conforming businesses and asked the EFCC to deploy all lawful means to bring the tax defaulters to justice.
The FIRS confirmed Fowler’s meeting with Magu in a statement signed by FIRS head of Communications and Servicom Department, Wahab Gbadamosi.
The statement said FIRS and EFCC are working together to deepen and strengthen their collaboration to track both individuals and organisations who refuse to pay the right taxes.
It said the partnership will beam searchlights on defaulting taxpayers who also refused to rely on the Federal Government’s tax amnesty programme: Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) to offset their tax liabilities.
Already, the FIRS-EFCC partnership, the release said, has led to the recovery of the sum N29 billion Withholding Tax from banks and other financial institutions in the country only between November 2017 and March 2018.
At the meeting which took place at the EFCC headquarters in Abuja, the Executive Chairman of FIRS, Tunde Fowler said Nigeria, just like other countries across the world, is looking inwards to raise the economic base and would not tolerate tax defaulters. The FIRS Executive Chairman was at the EFCC headquarters on a courtesy visit.
Said Fowler: “There are some issues of non-remittance of Withholding Tax, Value Added Tax and Personal Income Tax. The EFCC has shown support before. When tax defaulters are invited to your office (EFCC), we see result. I don’t know how you do it but we see result. Recently, two banks came forward to comply on their own. I think that they must have heard words. We want joint assistance with the EFCC, especially now that VAIDS is over, to make sure that all tax defaulters get the lawful treatment.
“I want to let every taxable person in Nigeria know that we are ready to deploy all powers within our disposal to ensure that every tax defaulter is punished according to the law”.
The Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, said the EFCC is ready to do more to bring culprits to book.
Magu said: “People are in a hurry to collect taxes but are reluctant to remit them. It is very distressing. We may put a team together to ensure that whatever taxes collected by anybody is remitted and on time. I also want to congratulate you (FIRS) because of the change in the narrative. There is no doubt that there is a real improvement in our tax system. We will collaborate. We had done this in the past when we had a joint training in Kaduna. We will make sure that we do anything you ask us to do as far as it is lawful “, he said.
The EFCC boss urged every Nigerian to join in the fight against corruption, saying everyone has a role to play.
“Everyone has the responsibility to fight corruption. You may not do it the way Magu does his own. The best approach is for us to agree that corruption is bad. I appeal to everyone to fight corruption even at home. Tell the children that corruption is bad”, Magu said.