FIRS: Nami promises to probe Tax Refund process during Fowler’s era
New Chairman of Nigeria’s tax authority, the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Muhammad Mamman Nami has said he will beam a searchlight into how the immediate past Chairman of the agency, Tunde Fowler, managed tax refund in Nigeria.
Nami said he did not want to malign the past administration but insisted that the agency had drifted to the negative direction in the recent past and needed to be repositioned.
Nigerian tax law allows a taxpayer who overpaid certain taxes to ask for a tax refund. But the taxpayer must provide documentary evidence that he actually overpaid and also would have to wait for minimum of 90 day from the day he requested for the refund before such is granted.
Initial expectations from any taxpayer seeking to make claims for tax refund: the taxpayer must be registered for tax; the tax refund application letter must state clearly, the precise trigger for the refund, the tax type for which refund is being sought and the period of transactions giving rise to the claim of refund; supporting documents to the stated transactions must be appended to the application letter for submission to FIRS.
However dubious tax authorities latch into this tax law to perpetuate fraud by conniving with taxpayers to claim some tax refunds that are not due to them.
Nami said that he was shocked that some taxpayers could ask for what is not due to them.
In Abuja on Friday, during Management Retreat of the tax agency, Mr. Nami indicated that he would look into how Fowler granted tax refund.
He said “Few days after I assumed office, a taxpayer came to me and requested a tax refund of N3bilion”, but critical evaluation of his request showed that no tax refund was due to him. Nami indicated that a lot of taxpayers could have played a fast one on the FIRS in the recent past. He promised to look into tax refund processes of the last two years. Fowler was the Chairman of FIRS from 2015 2019, December.
Section 23 (2) of the FIRS Establishment Act (2007) gives exclusive powers to FIRS to decide who is eligible for tax refund and this decision is subject to such rules and conditions as may be approved by the Board.