FIRS Boss Says Over 6000 Nigerian Billionaires Evade Tax
Over 6000 billionaires in Nigeria will be facing tax laws following their decision to evade tax dues, the Federal Inland Revenue Service boss, Babatunde Fowler has revealed.
Fowler made this known at a recent stakeholders’ meeting in Lagos – months after the tax holiday elapsed.
Fowler said over 6772 defaulting billionaire taxpayer were identified by leveraging on banks data.
The FIRS boss noted that most of such defaulting taxpayers, who have between N1 and N5 billion in their accounts, have no Taxpayer Identification Number, TIN, or have TIN and have not filed any tax returns.
It was further said that FIRS, through all banks in the country, will do substitution on accounts for such identified taxpayers.
How we found defaulting billionaires in Nigeria
Speaking on how the FIRS compiled lists of tax defaulting billionaire, the FIRS Chairman said, “What we have done is what we call ‘’substitution‘’ which also is in our laws which empowers us to appoint the banks as collection agents for tax. So, we are putting them under notice that it is their civic responsibility to pay tax and to file returns on these accounts.
“We looked all businesses, partnerships, corporate accounts that have a minimum turnover of N1 billion per annum for the past three years. First of all, the law states clearly that before you open a corporate account, part of the opening documentation is the tax I.D. From the 23 banks, we have analysed so far, we have 31,395 records, out of which effectively minus duplications we had 18,602.
“We broke those into three categories: Those that have TIN tax I.D, those that don’t have no TIN and of course no TIN no pay and those that have TIN and have not even paid anything.
“So, on a minimum, every company or business included here over the last three years have had a banking turnover of N3 billion and above. Some of them have had banking turnover of over N5 billion and have not paid one kobo in taxes. Now the total number of TIN and no pay is 6772.
“So, if someone is good in mathematics and you take the minimum level of N3 billion multiply by 409 and they are operating within our society and economy and do not remit or make any tax payment,” he said.
Fowler concluded by saying the FIRS will soon go after the bank accounts of defaulting taxpayers who are raking in billions in Nigeria and are not paying taxes.
“So, all these ones of TIN and no pay and no TIN and no pay, to the total of 6772 will have their accounts frozen or put under substitution pending when they come forward. First, they refused to come forward in 2016, they refused to come forward under VAT and are still operating here,” Fowler said.