FIRS WARNS TAXPAYERS AGAINST PAYING CASH, CHEQUES TO TAX OFFICERS



The Federal Inland Revenue Service has advised tax payers to pay tax at FIRS designated banks not to tax officers.
The Head, Communication and Servicom Department of the service, Wahab Gbadamosi, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja that FIRS tax officers did not collect cash and cheques from taxpayers.
Gbadamosi said the service only issued assessment notice to tax payers, adding that such notice could only be issued if a taxpayer had Taxpayer Identification Number.
He said the registration of TIN was free and advertisement on TIN had been ongoing in electronic and print media in the country.
He said: “Tax officers from FIRS do not collect cash and cheques from tax payers; taxpayers can only pay tax at any designated banks of FIRS.
“Any officer that comes to your office, shopping mall and business centres, please request for the staff Identification Card.
“If in doubt, contact any FIRS office and Tax Clearance Certificate for clarification.”
Gbadamosi said most of the shops and business owners did not even have TIN, adding that tax was based on income.
He said advertisement and jingles had been on going in the media since October 2015 to notify the general public on the service plans to commence nationwide Value Added Tax and Withholding Tax compliance check.
Gbadamosi said the objective of the exercise was to educate taxpayers on certain VAT and WHT issues, improve voluntary compliance, reduce tax arrears, boost revenue collection, identify tax evaders through third party transactions and gauge the level of taxpayers and FIRS relations.
According to him: “Tax officers will be in groups of at least three persons and will be identified with their FIRS identity cards conspicuously displayed on their persons.”
Gbadamosi said full-fledged audit exercise started on November 2, 2015.
Speaking on sealing of company premises, he said before the service sealed any company premises, there must have been several notices made by FIRS to the companies.
He said: “Where there are actual payment and firm commitment by exact payment schedule, because the thing is that our goal is not to kill business, our goal is to collect revenue, and pay into the Federation Account.
“Where tax payers are not doing their own bit, FIRS also has the mandate to use the law.”
A NAN correspondent, who spoke to some small business owners in Garki and Wuse in the FCT, reported them as calling on the FIRS to open more offices for effective and efficient tax payment.
Dami Adejola, a cosmetic dealer, said any tax officer could move around with fake ID card to defraud the public, especially tax officers sealing business centres.
Adejola said at different times, different FIRS staff had come to collect tax and to issue receipt when tax was paid.
She added: “How am I to know that I am dealing with the right tax officers?
“In the complex where my shop is located, these tax collectors will come and tell us to pay if not our shops will be sealed.
“FIRS should make their tax officers known just the way other uniform workers are known to avoid multiple tax payment.
“Everybody knows the current economic situation of the country, yet FIRS will say pay tax whether you make any sales or not, else your shop will be sealed.
“Recently we heard that FIRS had sealed premises of some companies in Nigeria but we will never know when they unseal these companies.”
Adejola said that FIRS should make payment of tax easy for Nigerians by creating more mini tax offices at different locations in the FCT so that anybody could walk in and make payment.
Chidi Orji said most time, FIRS would announce sealing company premises as well as disclose how much these companies owed, but will never tell Nigerians when these companies are unsealed.
Orji said: “It is the right of Nigerians to Know when these companies pay the tax they are owing and when these company premises are unsealed.
“Few days ago, FIRS staff came to our complex to collect tax and threatened to seal our shops if we did not pay.
“How much do we owe compared to these sealed companies?
“How are we sure that we are even dealing with right FIRS staff in the first place?
“How can I pay tax when I am not making sales?”
Baba Abdullahi said paying of tax in Nigeria had been a challenge due to the tough economic situation.
Abdullahi said high collection of tax by FIRS would help boost the economy of the country, but “we are not making sales to enable us to pay our tax.
“I will like to pay my tax but there is no money to pay.”
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