Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Tunde Fowler has said that the commission will go after the bank accounts of defaulting taxpayers who are raking in billions in Nigeria and are not paying taxes.
In doing that, FIRS, through all banks in the country, will do substitution on accounts for such identified taxpayers. There are Over 6,772 of such defaulting billionaire taxpayers being identified by the FIRS, leveraging on banks data.
Fowler who disclosed this at a stakeholders’ meeting on in Lagos, noted that most of such taxpayers, who have between N1 and N5 billion in their accounts have no Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN), or have TIN and have not filed any tax returns as taxpayers.
According to him, what we have done is what we call substitution which also is in our laws empowers us to appoint the banks as collection agents for tax.
“So, all these ones of TIN and no pay and no TIN and no pay, to the total of 6,772 will have their accounts frozen or put under substitution pending when they come forward.
“First, they refused to come forward in 2016, they refused to come forward under VAT and are still operating here. So, we are putting them under notice that it is their civic responsibility to pay tax and to file returns on these accounts.”
Fowler explained further, “we looked all businesses, partnerships, corporate accounts that have a minimum turnover of N1 billion per annum for the past three years. First of all, the law states clearly that before you open a corporate account, part of the opening documentation is the tax I.D. from the 23 banks, we have analysed so far, we have 31,395 records, out of which effectively minus duplications we had 18,602.
“We broke those into three categories, those that have TIN tax I.D, those that do not have no TIN and of course no TIN no pay and those that have TIN and have not even paid anything.”
He noted that FIRS is also paying closer attention to audit, saying “we have started a comprehensive audit exercise that involves both national and regional audits, because we got to a position where we found out that majority of the major organisations that were allowed to do self-assessment, do not truthfully declare or pay the taxes that were due.
“To date we have raised assessment of over N805 billion from 1,324 national audits out of which 499 taxpayers have N219 billion.
“N219 billion, it can do a lot of things. It can provide certainly a lot more infrastructure, healthcare and educational facilities. These monies that are supposed to go into the federation account are shared between Federal, Local and State governments.”
The FIRS Chairman noted that taxpayers can now enjoy the flexibility of choosing their tax offices and paying online.