The management teams of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have indicated their readiness to deepen and strengthen their collaboration to track both individuals and organisations that refused to pay the right taxes.
A statement by FIRS’ Head, Communications and Servicom Department, Wahab Gbadamosi, on the agencies’ new collaboration indicated that the partnership would beam searchlights on defaulting taxpayers who also refused to take advantage of the Federal Government’s tax amnesty programme -Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) – to offset their tax liabilities.
According to him, already, the FIRS-EFCC partnership has led to the recovery of the sum N29 billion Withholding Tax from banks and other financial institutions in the country between November 2017 and March 2018.
The FIRS’ spokesman quoted the Executive Chairman of FIRS, Tunde Fowler, as saying at a meeting held at the EFCC headquarters in Abuja that 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.
Fowler said: “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 tax expert added
In his remarks, the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, said the EFCC was ready to do more to bring culprits to book.
He 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 “, Magu added.
The anti-corruption crusader urged Nigerians 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”, the EFCC boss said.