Hoteliers Arrested Over Tax Evasion

 

The Federal Inland Revenue Services has arrested Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of some hotels operating within the Federal Capital Territory for evading taxes. The arrest of the hoteliers was carried out by a combined team of FIRS enforcement staffs and Mobile Policemen.

The Economic Confidential gathered that the FIRS had issued several warning letter this year to the affected hotels to file in their financial records for assessment, or register for tax remittance, most of them according to findings, did not comply with the directive.

All the affected companies admitted non-compliance to the directive while some of the hotels were closed down for not remitting Value Added Tax, Personal Income Tax and Company Income Tax and other some refused to register for tax remittance.

The FIRS Head in charge of the FCT, Mr. Olayemi Peter, noted that the hotels had been in business for years without discharging their statutory responsibilities to register as a taxpayer, a case of outright criminal evasion of tax.

He said the offences of the companies varied from failure to file tax returns for assessment, failure to remit taxes as mandated by the Act establishing the FIRS, as well as failure to register for assessment.

He said that the exercise was part of efforts aimed at generating more revenue for the country as well as ensuring that every member of the society complied with the tax laws.

Meanwhile the Executive Chairman of FIRS, Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru has said that the Federal Inland Revenue has called on stakeholders to come up with proposals that would help address areas of ambiguities in the nation’s tax laws.

Making the plea at the KPMG inaugural forum of the Chief Financial Officers held in Lagos Mrs. Omoigui-Okauru, said informed inputs or suggestions by stakeholders would give further mileage to current drive by the service to remove ambiguities from the existing tax laws.

She said the Service was ready to partner with the relevant stakeholders to remove such ambiguities in order to enhance the efficiency of tax administration in the country.

She said: “We have to go through process of legislation and amendment to our extant laws. Beyond what we are doing in the FIRS, individuals and stakeholders must be willing to bring proposals in order to address areas that need changes.’’

The FIRS boss said her job is to expand the tax base, a task which, she said, would be accomplished better and help to leverage on the cashless economy to expand the tax base if the support and cooperation of relevant stakeholders, including other government agencies are given the tax agency.

“CFOs are the financial engine rooms for their organizations and should take a frontline role in engaging with tax authorities on matters likely to impact their functions and professionals should also continue to lay a facilitating role and act as a bridge between tax authorities and taxpayers. “Tax authorities are willing to listen and collaborate in specified areas. CFOs should be involved in direction setting and take a proactive rather than reactive role,’’ she further explained.

 

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