Tax recovery: FIRS storms 6 coys owing over N2.3bn in Lagos



 For the second time in October, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has tackled companies defaulting in tax payment and remittance to the Federal Government.
It would be recalled that the FIRS had on Oct. 3 clamped down on some oil companies in Lagos for failing to pay their taxes.
In this fresh exercise which took place on Tuesday in Lagos, six tax-defaulting companies owing over N2 billion were visited.
The exercise covered First Deepwater Oil Services; Lottoj; Alliance and General Insurance; Leaders and Company Limited; Tonique Oil and Gas Services, and TAK-Agro Fertiliser Company.

During the exercise, the FIRS had to make some arrests and carry desktop computers and some financial documents from the companies, in order to ascertain some financial claims.

Head of the operation, Mrs Anita Erinne, a senior manager in the legal department of the
FIRS, said the enforcement exercise became necessary considering that the companies had defaulted in tax payment for long.

She lamented that the companies had also refused to keep to their agreement on payment strategy for the benefit of all the parties in the instance.

“We have to embark on the tax recovery exercise because after every effort through meetings and correspondence on the issue of tax payment, the companies failed to keep to the agreement,

“What we are talking about here is tax-payers money, in the cases of remittance, which is a criminal itself,” she said.

She made clear that at the point of enforcement, the FIRS had the right to make arrests of not only the managing director of defaulting companies, but also managers and other principal staff.

The available records during the exercise showed that the First Deepwter was defaulting in tax to the tune of N82.7 million as well as not having filled returns since 2011.

For Lottoj Oil and Gas, their tax default was N14.4 million and had not filed returns since 2013, while the Alliance and General Insurance had failed to pay up over N1.1 billion tax.

The records showed that Leaders and Company Limited was defaulting in tax to the sum of N228 million and had failed to file returns since 2005.

Tonique Oil Service has failed in its responsibility to pay tax to the tune of N28.9 million, the FIRS records showed, while TAK-Agro Fertiliser Company also failed to pay up N960.3 million taxes.
Mrs Erinne added that the FIRS was  working to ensure that companies worked with payment strategies  that would help them pay their taxes and still run their businesses.

The FIRS however expressed disappointment that the banks had not cooperated in enforcing the lien placed on some accounts of tax defaulting companies as they still operated such accounts with ease.