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Tax evasion: Reps begin probe of 24 banks today

By on May 20, 2013

The House of Representatives has commenced interrogation of officials of 24 banks over tax evasion. The quizzing of the banks on allegations of tax nonremittance holds today at the National Assembly premises.

Chairman of the House Committee on Finance, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin (Kano-PDP), said the investigation was holding because of alleged untoward practices by some of the designated tax-collecting banks who may not have been remitting their tax to the government.

“Before, our meeting with the bank executives was meant to be an interactive session but now, we have officially opened up a full investigation based on facts and figures from documents available to us from our consultants and the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS.

“We have earlier invited FRIS and they have availed us documents that will have far reaching effects on this exercise. Their presentation was quite revealing,” Jibrin disclosed.

According to him, the dual task of banks as tax-collecting agents for government as well as tax payers was becoming problematic to the economy in ways that must be attended to.

“As part of the bank’s responsibility as tax collectors, the FIRS revealed said there has been a couple of challenges, in fact FIRS had instances where they had to blacklist a bank from collecting tax on its behalf because of late remittances.

“What we discover in our findings was that some banks deliberately engaged in delaying remittance. So, what they do, as against the guidelines of the FIRS, when they collect the taxes was to delay the stipulated period of remitting it to the FIRS so that they can keep the money with them and use it for other purposes like trading and so on,” he added.

According to him, year after year, banks declare huge profits but we want to see what they are putting into government coffers as tax payers.

“All the committee is doing is against the backdrop of Federal Government’s revenue generation, the budget deficit of over N1 trillion for this year and the vision of the committee to improve the revenue base of the country,” he said.

( National Mirror)