The Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhammed Nami, has said Ministries, Departments, and Agencies of the Federal Government are the major guilty parties with regards to non-remittance of taxes deducted from companies and other businesses.
According to him, to address the issue, the FIRS has adopted a new policy to deduct taxes from the account of agents who fail to remit the taxes as withdrawn from the source.
Nami said this on Monday during a programme on TVC, noting that the decision was legally backed by extant tax laws.
The FIRS ordered that such agents who have collected, deducted, or withheld taxes should remit the same within 30 days, which will expire on Thursday, 3 June 2021.
Nami said, “It is impossible for you as an agency of government to expect the appointed agency that is the owner of businesses and companies limited by shares to remit these taxes, while you as the managers of MDAs are finding it difficult to remit same (to the FIRS).
“It is funny for us to have observed that Ministries, Departments, and Agencies of government that collect these monies (tax) or the state governments who collect these monies (tax) once they give out the contract, will equally keep these monies (tax) after they have deducted from the contractor’s payment and refuse to remit same.
“So we feel instead of applying for the position only on the body or companies doing business in Nigeria, we should also make them behave responsibly by deducting these taxes as at when due and also remitting same.
“It is when you do that that they can implement budget and provide the social infrastructure required by the citizens.
“If you look at the publication very well, we, first of all, drew the attention of taxpayers to Section 78, 79, 80, 81, and Section 82 of the Companies Income Tax Act.”
Nami noted that the law mandates MDAs to act as agents of collection to deduct or withhold taxes or payments made and remit the taxes to the FIRS.
“These are the monies we are going to go after. We are not to say you have N10m in your bank account, let’s take it arbitrarily,” Nami added.
On Nigeria’s approach to the use of technology in tax remittance, Nami said the technology has been put in place, but taxpayers have failed to exploit that avenue.
Meanwhile, he noted that according to the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), only one per cent of taxpayers are registered with the FIRS online platform.
“That was before we came onboard in 2019. Even before 2019 December that we were appointed, FIRS has invested a lot in technology.
“One thing is for you to invest, another is for you to get the buy-in of the taxpaying public to making sure they use the appropriate tools that are provided by way of technology for tax administration,” he said.
By Victor Uzoho…
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