Uche Usim, Abuja
In line with its anti-graft efforts, the Federal Government has mandated all Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government (MDAs) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to authenticate all Tax Clearance Certificates (TCCs) presented by companies and individuals engaged in public procurement processes.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who gave the directive in a circular on Tuesday said it was in response to the proliferation of forged TCCs purportedly issued prior to the automation of the certificates from August 22, 2017.
She added that the validation of the TCCs will enhance the integrity of the tax system.
Consequently, MDAs are now required to authenticate all TCCs prior to making any payment. Electronic TCCS (e-TCCs) can be verified by logging into appropriate online portals.
The circular advised MDAs and other stakeholders to forward a list of the companies and photocopies of the TCCs to the Office of the Executive Chairman, FIRS, for authentication even as it has undertaken to verify the TCCs within 72 hours of receipt.
The Minister also reminded company directors that possession is an offence. The now outdated manual system allowed production of forged TCCs. Companies and individuals in doubt as to the authenticity of their TCCs are advised to take advantage of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) to regularise their status.
She added that the Federal Ministry of Finance and FIRS will continue to work in partnership with government at all levels and stakeholders towards eradicating tax fraud and evasion.
The Federal Government had in January 2018 directed vendors of MDAs to display their Tax Identification Numbers (TINs) on their invoices before payments are effected. The non-presentation of a TIN by the vendors largely contributed to leakages in revenue remittances, particularly Value Added Tax (VAT) and Withholding Tax (WHT).