Friday 6 November 2015

Lagos State Govt embarks on tax war; ...shuts 6 firms

Lagos State Government
The Lagos State Internal Revenue Service, LIRS, during the week sealed six companies for failure to remit N18.73 million personal income taxes of their workers to the state government. The Assistant Head of Distrain Unit of the LIRS, Mrs Oluwalomona Ekosanmi, disclosed this in Lagos after an enforcement exercise.

Ekosanmi, who led the enforcement team, said that the affected companies had tax liabilities of between 12 months and six years. Ekosanmi urged firms operating in the state to regularly remit personal income taxes of their workers to the service to avoid any embarrassment and disruption that would come with distrain.
“Tax-payment is a civic responsibility of everyone because it is a major source of government’s revenue and also the only means government can provide the basic amenities for its citizens to improve their living standards,” she said. 
Meanwhile, some of the affected companies complained of unfair treatment from LIRS, saying that the service did not notify them before coming to close their premises.

Ekosanmi, however, said that LIRS usually sent two letters of notice to the defaulting companies before they embarked on the clamp-down exercise. According to her, LIRS sends tax liabilities demand notice and notice of intent to the affected companies as required by the Personal Income Tax Act (Amendment) of 2011.
“Each of the letters that we sent to the companies was received and acknowledged by any of the companies’ staff or the management of the firms. 
“So, for some of the companies to say that LIRS did not notify them before coming to seal their premises is not an excuse.
“Normally, firms are not even supposed to wait for anybody to remind them of their statutory obligation of remitting taxes to the government of the land where they operate,” she said. 
The team leader said that the enforcement exercise would continue until tax-payers imbibed the culture of voluntary tax compliance.

The Lagos State Government said about 3.5 million of its residents were currently guilty of tax evasion, which it said, absolutely violated the country’s 1999 Constitution and other extant legal instruments. The government added that it determined to capture the 3.5 million tax evaders in the state’s tax net while lamenting the continual decline in allocations from the Federal Government and dwindling oil price in the international market.

Credit: Vanguard

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