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FIRS Warns Foreign Firms, Airlines Against Tax Evasion

Ololade Omosan-Agie

The Federal Inland Revenue Service has threatened to deal with foreign companies that lift cargoes, particularly crude oil out of the country without paying their taxes.

The Service blamed poor tax revenue collection from the maritime industry on foreigners who lift cargoes and evade tax payment.

A statement said the FIRS Executive Chairman, Muhammed Nami, said these at the Pedabo Thought Leadership Breakfast Session.

He told the gathering that foreigners who voluntarily come forward to regularize their tax positions will not be sanctioned.

Nami said, “Let me use this opportunity to invite all foreign companies that have lifted cargoes (including crude oil) out of Nigeria without paying tax in line with extant law to voluntarily come forward to regularize their tax positions. 

“Those who would wait for the FIRS’ audit before doing the right thing may find the taste very unsavoury.

“The FIRS will soon launch a tax audit exercise on operators in the maritime and aviation industries.”

The FIRS boss also revealed in Lagos that back-end pre-audit activities, in collaboration with regulatory authorities in the industries, are at advanced stages.

He said, “The low tax revenue performance of the two industries can be attributed to many factors, chief of which is the failure of foreign companies lifting cargoes (particularly, crude oil) to pay tax. 

“This is contrary to the provisions of the extant tax laws.  The revenue leakage from these non-compliant companies is very huge.

“Tax authorities are unable to police these foreign companies because the transportation contracts are executed outside Nigeria and the tax authorities do not have the lifting schedules of the vessels ahead of their arrival in Nigeria.”

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