FIRS rakes N97.7bn from seizure of defaulters’ bank accounts

The Federal Inland Revenue Service has recovered N97.7bn from tax defaulters through the lien it ordered on tax defaulters’ bank accounts.

The Executive Chairman of FIRS, Mr Babatunde Fowler, stated this on Wednesday at the 49th Annual Accountant Conference of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria in Abuja.

In a presentation entitled ‘FIRS Power of Substitution: Critical Review and Matters Arising’, he insisted that despite criticisms of the practice, he would do whatever he could to boost tax collections.

He said that the FIRS took such a harsh stance only after the failure of the tax amnesty programme tagged Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme.

He said that through the substitution exercises, FIRS increased tax revenue collection through a special tax audit, VAIDs, special investigation and the banking turnover initiatives.

So far, 3,976 of the 44,293 non-compliant companies have paid about N97.7bn, he said.

Giving a breakdown of the money recovered, he said that through the banking turnover exercise, the service recovered N88.59bn after reaching an agreement with the 3,797 companies.

He added that 74 out of 406 companies paid about N4bn under the special tax audit substitution exercise.

Fowler further said that the FIRS realised N3.84bn after reaching an agreement with 79 of the 800 companies under the VAIDs substitution exercise.

According to him, through the special investigation substitution exercise, 47 out of 351 companies paid N2.06bn.

The FIRS boss cautioned banks against sabotaging his order to restrict access to specific bank accounts.

“As at today, there are 23,141 tax defaulters who are yet to come forward to clear their outstanding liabilities of about N254bn.

“FIRS, in collaboration with the banks, have started engaging in compliance measures with regards to the tax defaulters and their accounts.

“Failure to carry out this directive will result in the banks being sanctioned according to Section 31 subsection 1-3 and 32 of the FIRS Act 2007,” he said, adding that sanctions involve immediate delisting of such banks from FIRS collection list.

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