FIRS To Go After Bank Accounts Of Billionaires Owing Tax

Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Tunde Fowler, says the agency will soon go after the bank accounts of defaulting taxpayers who are raking in billions in Nigeria and are not paying taxes.

The FIRS boss said over 6,772 of such defaulting billionaire taxpayers have been identified by the FIRS, leveraging on banks data.

Fowler spoke about the issue at a stakeholder’s meeting in Lagos.

“There are Over 6772 of such defaulting billionaire taxpayers that have been identified by the FIRS, leveraging on banks data,” he said.

Most of the affected taxpayers, according to Fowler, have no Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) or have TIN and have not filed any tax returns.

He said, “What we have done is what we call “substitution” which also is in our laws which 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 6772 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.

“We looked at 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.

“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 that FIRS had done a thorough analysis of 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 don’t have no TIN and of course no TIN no pay and those that have TIN and have not even paid anything.

“So, on a minimum, every company or business included here over the last three years have had a banking turnover of N3 billion and above. Some of them have had banking turnover of over N5 billion and have not paid one kobo in taxes.

“So, if someone is good in mathematics and you take the minimum level of N3 billion multiply by 409 and they are operating within our society and economy and do not remit or make any tax payment.”

He also called for support from banks in other to fish out the bank accounts of the erring billionaires.

“I plead with the banks to support us, in supporting us, you are supporting Nigeria. In supporting Nigeria, you are supporting all Nigerians and those who have chosen Nigeria as home. And most of all, you are supporting a future that we can leave behind for the upcoming youth of Nigeria.”

He noted that FIRS is also paying close attention to accounts auditing.

“We have started a comprehensive audit exercise that involves both national and regional audit 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.

“Till date, we have raised an assessment of over N805 billion from 1324 National Audits out of which 499 (taxpayers) have N219 billion.”

Police Need 20bn Naira To Clear 3,000 Late Officials’ Insurance Claims

Police, Nasarawa, Police Promise Proactivity Over Fears of Ombatse Militia’s ReturnThe Nigerian police say it needs over 20 billion Naira to cover the insurance claims of over 3,000 police officers who died in active service.

The force insurance officer, Mr Isyaiku Mohammed, gave the figure when he appeared before the ad-hoc Committee of the House of Representatives investigating alleged illegalities between government officials and insurance companies charged with insuring fixed assets of the Federal Government.

Members of the committee also heard from the Head of Service and officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) who were at the investigative hearing.

The hearing was in continuation of an investigative hearing authorised by the House of Representative.

The first agency to appear before the committee was the NNPC, but their response did not please the committee.

After the NNPC delegations briefed the House, it was the turn of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita.

After she explained the procedure followed by her office, she was asked by the lawmakers to submit more documents to the committee.

When it was time for officials of the Nigeria Police Force to brief the committee, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Isyaiku Mohammed, who is the force’s insurance officer, gave the committee figures that painted a picture lawmakers found disturbing.

Honourable Emmanuel Oghene, raised concerns over the figures listed as outstanding needed to clear the insurance claims of late police officials.

The committee, which will continue with its sitting next week, also received documents form the Federal Inland Revenue Service.

Senate Steps Down FIRS Budget Over ‘Drastic Increase’ In Figure

Senate, Inmates' BabiesThe Nigerian Senate has rejected a report of its committee on finance on the 2016 budget of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

The Senate rejected the budget proposal after going through the recommendations made by its Finance Committee.

Lawmakers frowned at the increase of 25 billion Naira in personnel cost while the overhead cost of the agency also rose by 13 billion Naira.

the Senate also wondered why the figures drastically increased in the space of one year.

Another lawmaker, Senator Barau Jubril, expressed concern at the shortfall in the FIRS’ revenue projection for 2015.

According to the report by the Finance Committee, the FIRS had a revenue projection of 4.36 trillion Naira for 2015 but generated 3.7 trillion Naira.

The Senate ordered its Finance Committee to withdraw the document and told the members of the committee to properly tidy up a number of issues raised concerning it and return it in one week.

2016 Budget: FG Urges AfDB To Fast Track Loan Pledge

2016 budget, AfDBThe Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, has appealed to the African Development Bank(AfDB) to fast track the one billion dollars loan facility it promised the country as support for the 2016 budget.

The loan is expected to cover the 35 per cent shortfall in the 2016 budget.

Senator Udoma made this appeal on in Abuja during a meeting with an AfDB team over the weekend

The Minister said: “I want to thank you for the support. We value the relationship with AfDB and we appreciate the budget support. We want AfDB also to fastrack the loan facility”.

Senator Udoma while giving an overview of the government’s plan to reflate the economy and spend out of the recession, said that the government was trying to contain the militancy in the Niger Delta which had affected oil production in the country.

The government hopes to restore production to 2.2 million barrels per day at the end of the year.

“The government is committing money into infrastructure development, processing of export zones, and also providing loans through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at a single digit to support farming in Nigeria,” he stated.

According to the Minister, the Economic Recovery Plan is designed to consolidate and harmonise all the sectoral plans in a single document and set out in broad detail an integrated roadmap for the growth and sustainability of the country’s economy, and is also a part of the commitment the Federal Government made with Nigerians, whether there was a recession or not.

Also at the meeting was the Director General of the Budget Office, Mr Ben Akabueze and he said that what the government was doing differently concerning budget releases, was that it had shifted from the old practice of releasing monies quarterly but on specific request which are tied to projects.

Mr Akabueze said that so far over 750 billion had been released for capital projects.

He says hopes are high that revenue will improve in the second half of the year as the Federal Inland Revenue Service, (FIRS) and the Customs will do better, having overcome some of the challenges faced in the first half of the year.

The Acting Director for Governance and Reform, Mr Coulibaly, who spoke earlier said that the AfDB team came to seek further clarification on policy reforms, level of budget implementation, as it touches capital budget releases.

He also stated that they wanted the Minister to highlight if there was any new policy introduced in the 2017 budget and updates on the Social Protection Policy.

House Summons Minister Over Breach Of Constitution

2016 budget-HouseThe House of Representatives has summoned the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory over an alleged breach of the 1999 Constitution in the implementation of the Federal Capital Territory Internal Revenue Services Act 2015.

The sponsor of the motion, Rep Abdulrazak Namdas, informed the House that the Minister has signed an agreement with the Federal Inland Revenue Service to collect taxes for the FCT, in breach of the existing law.

The Minister is to appear before the House to explain the reason for taking such a step and why his decision must not be reversed.

The Committee on FCT has been mandated to look into the matter and report back to the House in two weeks.

FIRS Projects 4.9trn Naira Internal Revenue For 2016

FIRSThe Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has set a target of 4.9 trillion Naira as the revenue that would be generated in 2016.

The Executive Chairman of FIRS, Mr Babatunde Fowler, who made the disclosure, said that the development was to ensure a successful implementation of the 2016 Budget.

Projecting a 90% budget implementation success, Mr Fowler maintained that the FIRS would achieve at least 70% delivery per quarter or forfeit their performance bonuses through the year.

He said that their target of adding 500,000 taxable corporate accounts to their grid would be achieved before the end of March with an additional five million by December 2016.

Stanbic IBTC Says It Has Met Financial Reporting Standards

StanbicStanbic IBTC Holdings says it has met the disclosure requirements of the International Financial Reporting Standards.

The company was responding to what it called “inaccurate and unseemly allegations” made against Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN).

The company, in a statement said that although the matter was in court, it was constrained to respond to certain aspects of the report for the benefit of its stakeholders and the general public.

It said, “FRCN’s allegations are inaccurate and unfortunate, and the manner in which it has chosen to make them is procedurally defective.

“Whilst FRCN takes refuge in Regulation 21 of the Directorate of Inspection and Monitoring Guidelines Regulations 2014 for the wide publicity that it has given to its regulatory decision, Regulation 21 only applies ‘Where the Panel and the entity agree that accounts are to be rectified by way of revision or restatement’.

“That is not the case here, because Stanbic IBTC does not agree that its accounts are defective or require rectification.  Moreover, Regulation 27 makes clear that where a reporting entity does not accept FRCN’s position, FRCN ‘shall institute a legal action against the entity’.

“FRCN has ignored this laid down process in preference for self-help and media publicity,” it said.

The company further explained that the matters that FRCN alleged to be wrong were not wrong “in any material respect” and many are not matters of financial reporting, but matters of business decision and judgment for Stanbic IBTC and its board of directors.

“For example, the decision whether to enter into a sale and lease back, whether in relation to intellectual property or any other asset, is a business decision and entirely a matter for the board of directors of Stanbic IBTC and certainly not a matter for FRCN.

“In the same vein, NOTAP’s refusal to register a franchise agreement does not render the agreement null or void, or indeed relieve Stanbic IBTC of its liability. It merely means that any foreign currency payment due to the foreign counterparty under the unregistered agreement cannot be remitted. Stanbic IBTC has not and will not make any remittance which is subject to NOTAP approval without obtaining such approval.

“Stanbic IBTC is a very responsible organisation and fully complies with all extant laws and regulations in Nigeria and international best practices applicable to the conduct of its business.”

The statement added that contrary to media reports, the Directors of Stanbic IBTC have not been ousted, “The directors, who are from Nigeria and elsewhere, are reputable individuals who uphold the best corporate governance practices and whose credibility, integrity and proven track record are impeccable.”

FRC Directs Stanbic IBTC To Give Financial Details For 2013/2014 Year

ibtc-frcThe Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has directed Stanbic IBTC Plc to withdraw and restate their financial statements for years ended December 31 2013 and 2014.

The Council, in a statement, also suspended the FRC registration numbers of four of its Directors who signed the misleading statement of financial positions of Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc for the years under review, until the investigations are completed.

These persons include Atedo Peterside, Sola David Borha, Arthur Oginga and Dr. Daru Owei.

The FRC number of the audit engagement partner, Mr. Ayodele Othihiwa, was also suspended.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have been requested to assist in the effort and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has also been requested to ensure related taxes are paid and the government is not unduly short changed.

FRSC Boss Tasks Men On Credible Drivers’ Licence System

FRSC-2The Corp Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corp, Mr Boboye Oyeyemi, has challenged officers and men of the corp including staffers of Federal Inland Revenue Service and Boards of Internal Revenue to collectively work towards delivering a more efficient and credible licensing system for Nigeria.

Speaking in Abuja at a meeting organised by the Federal Road Safety Corp for motor licensing authority and sector heads of drivers’ license centers, Mr Oyeyemi said that the corp was determined to reduce road traffic fatalities by 50% before the end of 2015.

Also speaking at the occasion, representative of the Federal Inland Revenue Service and Joint Tax Board, Mr Ahmed Jibrin Jibrin, said eliminating drivers’ license and number plate racketeering would improve the nation’s revenue and that of the states.

Federal Road Safety Corps is the government agency with statutory responsibilities for road safety administration in Nigeria.

Founded in 1988, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) operates in all Nigerian states as well as the Federal Capital Territory.

Job Scam: FIRS Arraign 5 Persons For Defrauding Job Seekers

Job scamFive suspected fraudsters accused of collecting money from job seekers for non-existing jobs at the Federal Inland Revenue Service have been arraigned at a Federal High Court.

In recent times, there has been an increase in the money for job scam, with fraudsters promising unemployed persons jobs in exchange for money.

In this case, the accused persons defrauded one Miss Esther Nona of the sum of N46, 000 with a promise to get her a job at the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

The accused persons: Alex Oki, Ogbonna Agwu, Shuaibu Mohammed, Kehinde Jamah and David Kachia all pleaded not guilty to the five counts charge against them.

Their lawyer, Ebenezer Agbadaki, further made a case for their bail. He told the court that all attempts to secure their bail since they were arrested on September 9 had proved abortive.

He urged the court to exercise its discretion in favour of his clients.

However, lawyer to the FIRS, Chinonso Edeh, told the court that contrary to what the accused persons said, the accused had been granted bail but no one came forward to secure their bail .

Trial judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, granted all the accused persons bail and added that one of the sureties must be a civil servant of not less than level ten in the civil service.

The sureties must produce a letter from his superior confirming his employment.

The sureties must also own a landed property in Abuja worth 10 million naira and produce evidence of tax clearance in the last three years among others.

FIRS Tasks Ministries, Departments, Agencies On Revenue

FIRSThe Acting Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Kabir Mashi, has appealed to ministries, departments and agencies to demand for tax identification numbers from contractors before they are awarded contracts.

While stating that sanitizing the nation’s public and private sector remains key to the attainment of increased revenue generation for the country, Mr Kabir Mashi vowed that the FIRS would prosecute contractors who present fake tax clearance certificates.

He made this vow at a forum where Government officials and private businessmen from different sectors gathered to discuss how to improve non oil revenue through taxation.

While available statistics shows that the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP)  to tax ratio currently stands at 12%, a situation which was said to be below the standard for developing economies, the FIRS boss promised tough times for contractors as a step to reverse  the trend.

Government officials promised to support policies that would enhance better tax revenues, but also appealed for more sensitization to enable Nigerians meet up with their tax obligation. They suggested that the campaign should begin with people at the grassroots.

Participants at the forum agreed that the political, economic and social development of a nation depend on the amount of revenue generated for the provision of  infrastructure and officials of the Federal Inland Revenue Service  (FIRS) promised an increased revenue from the tax system to ensure provision of infrastructure by the Government.

Nigeria To Investigate Banks Over False Remittance

The Federal Government of Nigeria has begun investigating commercial banks for irregularities in remittances of revenue by some of them engaged in the collection of non- oil revenue for the federation account.

Money deposit banks across the country would be scrutinized as their activities concerning the receipt and remittances to the federation account of taxes and duties from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) have come under question to ascertain the extent of diversion by the banks.

The Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) had earlier revealed that it discovered a wide range of irregularities and will work transparently to recover every excess deduction and stop further leakages.

At a news conference in Abuja, the chairman of RMAFC, Elias Mbam said the Federation Accounts Allocation committee (FAAC) has authorized it to carry out an investigation of the bank’s activities beginning from January 2008 to June 2012.

A total of 21 banks in the country have been contracted by the FIRS and the NCS to collect taxes and duties for the country.