Written by Sarah NEGEDU

Tax evasion: FIRS generate N12bn from billionaires

A total of N12.66billion tax revenue has been generated from billionaires who have not been paying commensurate taxes into government coffers.

The Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, Tunde Fowler stated this when he received Minister of finance, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, who was on a familiarization visit to FIRS headquarters in Abuja.

He said the FIRS initiated the substitution of the bank accounts of high net-worth billionaire tax defaulters about a month ago. He said the initiative has pooled about N12. 66 billion into the government coffers.

“FIRS wrote to all commercial banks in May 2018, requesting for a list of companies, partnerships, and enterprises with a banking turnover of N1 billion and above.

“This activity is aimed at ascertaining those companies that are compliant with the tax laws and those that are not compliant. So far, non-compliant organisation has paid about N12.66 billion.

“The FIRS will continue to implement initiatives that will drive compliance and generate revenue by continuous taxpayer enlightenment, implementation of the Auto VAT Collect in other sectors of the economy, simplification of the tax processes, especially for small taxpayers, strengthening collaborations with other agencies such as CAC, States Boards of Internal Revenue, ministry of Trade & Investment, Nigeria Customs Service”, Fowler said.

He the Service also realized N2.983billion from payment on demand notices on property owners who are being assessed based on their turnover and that 653 of 2, 672 of such non-filers have starting filing now.

From enforcement, Fowler said that FIRS has collected N47.5billion from 2016 till date and $32.8million, 5.9 pounds, netted N225billion from audit and has collected more than N1trillion above its January to August collection last year (2017).

He said that FIRS’ collection of N4.03trillion in 2017 has 62.25percent as non-oil while oil was just 37.75 percent. It was 64.99 in favour of non-oil in 2016 and 35.01 for oil. This year, the FIRS has done 54.56 percent for non-oil and 45.44 percent for oil receipts.

Fowler added that Value Added Tax receipt has also been rising, “So far in 2018, the FIRS has collected N773.49 billion in eight months. The above collected this year has already surpassed that of 2015 (N767.33 billion), and the agency is set to surpass 2016 (N828.19 billion) and 2017 (N972.30 billion) with four more collection months left in the year”, Fowler said.

The minister commended the agency for shoring-up non-oil revenue. “The Ministry of Finance will continue to work collaboratively with FIRS to support all the efforts that you are doing. And as much as possible, we should interface frequently.

“For us, the directive I have is to increase the tax revenue and that is the most important task ahead of all of us. You have done well. And the reward for good work is more work.”

The minister urged the agency to “maintain the tempo” because literarily, the country depends on FIRS to shore up the revenue collection to support the government.

 

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