TATAFO NEWS: FIRS acting chairman ‘Fowler’ goes after 325K companies and persons over tax evasion

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Acting Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, Babatunde Fowler is poised to go after over 300,000 companies and personalities over evasion of tax.

The companies which include multinational companies, corporate organisations and individuals are said to have been under the watch of the agency and would be made to pay their taxes or face the music.

“No country can succeed without taxation. We will make sure that we cover all ground, especially on the corporate level; all tax payers within each state will be covered,” he began.

Continuing, ‘Those who have found Nigeria a fertile ground; those who have made a living and made profit from the businesses within Nigeria, we ask them to do the right thing.

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‘We all know the right thing to do. Most of these companies have the big names as auditors yet they keep different records — one set of records for the banks, one set of records for shareholders and one set of records for the tax administrators.

‘I think it’s time that that was stopped and I am going to also request that the multinationals should follow our laws and not do things that will contravene the tax laws and I ask them that they should please partner with us and follow the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, especially when it comes to tax payment,’ he said.

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The move by Fowler, is reportedly a renewed effort by the agency to boost tax revenue to fund the programmes of the Federal Government.

Statistics obtained from the service revealed that out of the 450,000 companies in Nigeria, only 125,000, representing 27.7 per cent, pay any form of taxes.

Going by this figure, it implies that about 325,000 companies are evading tax, thus denying the government huge revenue annually.

In the 2015 fiscal year, the FIRS was given a revenue generation target of N4.5tn by the Federal Government and it has so far generated N2.667tn.

Fowler said his administration would not take the issue of tax evasion lightly, as he was aware that some foreign companies that were operating in Nigeria were being investigated in England for evading taxes.

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However, the past Chairman of the FIRS, Sunday Ogungbesan, had said the service was finding it difficult to track the financial activities of those who did not pay taxes, as most of the evaders were no longer active.

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