In what may be termed an aggressive move to swell government’s revenue, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) says it will begin a nationwide tax enforcement exercise on recalcitrant tax evaders on Wednesday, December 18 (today).
FIRS in a statement released on Tuesday by Wahab Gbadamosi, its Head of Communications Department and Servicom, urged tax defaulters to pay up to avoid unpalatable consequences.
The FIRS Spokesman who quoted Abiodun Aina, the acting executive chairman of FIRS, advised defaulters to settle their tax liabilities to avoid any inconveniences or interruptions in their operations.
The statement read; “The FIRS hereby informs all taxpayers (individuals, partnerships, enterprises, corporate organisations, ministries, departments and agencies) who are in default of payment of taxes arising from self-assessment, tax audit, tax investigation, transfer pricing audit, demand notices and any other liabilities, that the service will commence a nationwide tax enforcement exercise from 18 December, with a view to prosecuting defaulters and recovering all outstanding tax liabilities,” the statement read.
“All taxpayers are therefore strongly advised to settle their tax liabilities within seven days of the notice to avoid any inconveniences or interruptions in your operations.”
Aina said the enforcement is pursuant to the provisions of Section 8, 26 (2), 33 and 35 of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment Act, 2007).
The taxes covered by the enforcement are petroleum profits tax, companies income tax, value-added tax, withholding tax, tertiary education tax, NITDA levy, stamp duty and capital gains tax.
The issue of tax evasion has remained a perennial one, as many influential Nigerians do not pay taxes.
Already, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning Mrs Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed has inaugurated the Steering Committee for “Project Lighthouse” in line with government’s blueprint to aggressively collect more taxes and grow its non-oil revenue base.
Project Lighthouse is an initiative which entails using advanced data mining and analytics techniques to identify tax defaulters, establish their tax liabilities and send notifications to appropriate authorities for necessary action.
As at June 2018, the initiative, which aggregates data from multiple sources such as bank accounts, land registry records, company registration data, tax filings, Customs records and asset ownership records, has identified a batch of over 130,000 high net worth individuals and companies whose tax records are not up to date due to detected underpayments