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FIRS laments non remittance of tax by MDAs

Ebuka Daniel

The Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Muhammed Nami, has expressed disappointment that Ministries, Departments and Agencies are the worst culprits of non remittance of taxes deducted from contractors among others businesses.

Nami had in January lamented that the country lost $178bn to tax evasion by multinationals in ten years.

As a result, FIRS resorted to a new policy of deducting taxes from the account of agents who default to remit taxes as withdrawn from source.

The FIRS requested such agents who have collected, deducted, or withheld taxes to remit same within 30 days which expires on Thursday, 3 June 2021.

Nami said on Monday during a programme on TVC  that the legitimacy of the decision was legally backed by extant tax laws.

Nami said., “It is actually impossible for you  as an agency of government to expect the appointed agency that is the owner of businesses- 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 actually funny for us to have observed that  Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government that collect these monies  (tax) or the state governments will collect these monies (tax) once they give out 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 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 are able to 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 tax payers 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 agent of collection to deduct or withhold taxes or payment made and remit the taxes to the FIRS.

The FIRS boss said, “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.”

On Nigeria’s disjointed approach on the use of technology in tax remittance, Nami said the technology has been put in place, but tax payers have failed to exploit that avenue.

He added, “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 tax paying public to making sure they use the appropriate tools that are provided by way of technology for tax administration.”

He said the FIRS has been empowered by the new Finance Act to use technology to drive tax filing and payment in the country.

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