EFCC Summons, Interrogates Ex-FIRS Boss Fowler

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is currently interrogating a former Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Babatunde Fowler.

Fowler, who was also a former Chief Executive Officer, Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS), responded to an invitation from the EFCC on Monday.

This was confirmed to Channels Television by the spokesperson of the EFCC, Mr Wilson Uwujaren.

According to Uwujaren, Fowler is being interrogated in connection to an ongoing investigation by the anti-graft agency.

The EFCC spokesperson however noted that he cannot tell when the commission will be done questioning Mr Fowler.

LIRS To Implement Additional Tax Incentives, Reliefs To Taxpayers

 

 Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) has commenced the implementation of additional reliefs and measures to further ease the impact of the pandemic on taxpayers in Lagos State.

These additional measures and incentives are sequel to the agency’s initial 3-month extension of the deadline for filing of annual returns (from March 31 to June 30, 2020).

According to the Executive Chairman, LIRS, Mr. Ayodele Subair, “the following measures are to be implemented to further ease the impact of the pandemic on our esteemed taxpayers in Lagos state: LIRS shall allow on a case by case basis, payment of outstanding liabilities in installments to ease cash flow challenges that may affect taxpayers. Taxpayers are to enjoy a waiver of penalty for late payment of liabilities under PAYE (Pay As You Earn) that was due during the period of March-May, 2020 when the State was under COVID-19 lockdown.

In addition, a waiver of penalties due on the late filing of 2020 annual tax returns known as ‘Form A’ will be granted. A remarkable waiver of interest and penalty on liabilities arising from 2009 to 2015 tax audit for taxpayers who can pay up on or before December 31, 2020, will be implemented.

In appreciation of taxpayers that have supported the State Government in the fight against the pandemic, the LIRS through the Lagos State Government will be granting tax credit of 20% of all cash and kind donations made towards Covid-19 by individuals resident in the State for the 2021 Year of Assessment (subject to a cap of 35% of tax due).”

He further announced that additional payment channels have been opened up to make payment of taxes easier, simpler and more convenient for all. The Executive Chairman pronounced that Video Conferencing has been adopted as the default mode for conducting Tax Audit Reconciliation Committee [TARC] meetings in consonance with social distancing advisories from Government and other relevant health authorities.

He encouraged taxpayers to make use of the Agency’s digital communication platforms to get updates on its operations and details of all tax payment platforms.

He enjoined all businesses and individuals resident in Lagos State to take advantage of these additional palliatives and reciprocate the kind gestures of Lagos State Government by discharging their civic responsibilities through prompt payment of all taxes and levies due to the State.

The LIRS urges the Lagos State residents to stay safe and obey all Covid-19 guidelines as stipulated by the relevant health authorities and Lagos State Government.

COVID-19: LIRS Extends Deadline For Taxpayers To File Annual Returns

 

The Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) has extended the deadline for filing of Annual Tax Returns to June 30, 2020.

This according to the agency is in continuous effort to provide the much needed relief to taxpayers and mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

“Annual returns for individuals (both employees and self-employed persons) that were initially due on May 31st, 2020 can now be filed any time on or before the 30th of June, 2020,” a statement signed on Tuesday by LIRS Head of Corporate Communications, Monsurat Amasa read in part.

LIRS, therefore, urged taxpayers to take advantage of the new extension to file their returns.

“As the Lagos State Government keeps abreast of global best practices in containing the Covid-19 pandemic and eases the effects of an economic downturn on taxpayers and residents of the State, LIRS had initially extended the deadline for filing annual tax returns for two months, from the statutory March 31st of every fiscal year to May 31, 2020.

“We constantly debated what other measures could be taken as an organization to support individuals and businesses at this time, hence, the additional one-month extension from June 1, to June 30, 2020,” the statement added.

Taxpayers are also advised to access the LIRS eTax platforms for all tax administration matters, including filing of annual returns, generation of assessment and payment schedule and payment of the liabilities from the comfort of their homes and offices.

Justice Minister grants Lagos State permission to prosecute tax offenders

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Mohammed Bello Adoke, has granted the Lagos State government the executive fiat to prosecute tax offenders in the state under the Personal Income Tax Act.

Special Adviser to Governor Babatunde Fashola on Justice, Mr Lanre Akinsola, disclosed this yesterday at a briefing on tax compliance in the state.

“Last week Thursday, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice granted approval to the Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice of Lagos State, Mr Ade Ipaye, to prosecute tax defaulters or evaders. This means that if you don’t pay your tax, you will go to jail and will not be liable to hold any public office position,” he said.

He said any person or cor-porate organisation that fails to submit tax returns for last year by the end of this month has committed an offence.

Earlier, while justifying why Lagos needs to increase its internally generated revenue that was N16billion monthly last year, the Special Assistant to the Lagos state Governor on Taxation and Revenue, Mr Abimbola Sodipo, said the challenge was funding the 106 new projects to be executed by the state.

He said available data show that out of the 20million population of the state, eight million are workers but only 2 .7million pay tax, while 5.3million do not.

Noting that Lagos has adopted advocacy, enlightenment, awards and recognition, among others, to encourage payment of tax, he said: “Now we are moving to a vigorous enforcement level. We will prosecute and refuse to listen to any concessions or waivers.”

Chairman, Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS), Tunde Fowler, said the days the state relied on Abuja for much of its revenue are over.

He said funds from the Federation Account accounted for only 51.14 per cent of the state revenue for 2007 while it decreased to 37 per cent last year.

He said if every taxable person pays his tax in the state monthly internally generated revenue would increase to N20billion and this would help to build more infrastructure.

He explained that in the government’s proactive effort to ensure compliance with the taxation policy, a total of 610 companies were sealed up between 2010 and 2011 with N1,334,519,040.73 billion recovered.

Fowler enumerated the various punishments for failure to pay the Personal Income Tax. He said failure by a banker to render returns, books, documents and information on demand within seven days attracts a fine of N500, 000 for a corporate body and N50,000 for an individual, while failure by banker to render information about new customer within 7 days attracts N500, 000 for corporate body and N50, 000 for an individual. For an employer of labour, the PITA states that failure to deduct or remit tax will attract 10 per cent of tax not deducted, plus interest at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Monetary Policy Rate.