Tax default: FIRS clamps down on oil companies, recovers N333million

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) on Friday recovered N333 million from corporate tax payer in the Oil and Gas sector during its tax recovery drive in Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the two-day exercise by the FIRS covered companies such as Baker Hughes, Line Trale, Techno Oil and Heyden Petroleum, all operating in the oil and gas industry.

NAN reports that when the team got to Baker Hughes, senior members of staff claimed that the managing director was not in the office but the Company Secretary, Gbenga Biobaku, made a commitment of N50 million payments.

The company secretary promised to visit the FIRS office with the accounts team to reconcile what was left to be paid.

At the Line Trale Company, the story was the same as two senior members of staff claimed that the managing partners were not available.

They, however, did not resist going with the FIRS team on invitation to their office.

The Managing Director of Techno Oil, an industry services provider, Tony Onyeama, made a commitment of N50 million after a heated argument on the real amount the company owed as tax.

He said he was not interested in paying the penalty or the interest, adding that he would only pay the principal amount, which still needed to be reviewed.

The tax recovery drive at Heyden Petroleum recorded some success as the company made a payment commitment of N15 million, which would come after the public holidays.

Meanwhile, Olaitan Adediran, the Director, Tax Department, FIRS, confirmed to NAN that one of the companies visited on tax recovery made N148 million payment.

The director also confirmed that another company came in with a documented promise to pay N70 million after the holiday period.

She said that the enforcement drive yielded some positive responses because some of the companies had cause to sign payment agreements.

She noted that the enforcement exercise would be needless if companies complied to pay their taxes as and when due.

“If a company is filing its returns as at when due and paying its taxes on due dates, enforcement will not be necessary.

“Companies have obligations to file their returns on due dates; six months after the year ends and accounts have been prepared,” she said.

NAN reports that defaulting company representatives who came to keep their appointments with the FIRS were counseled on how to comply with the regulations.

The FIRS also told them that as long as the tax liabilities remained unpaid, it would continue to attract penalty and interest.

Ms Adediran promised that the tax recovery team would continue the exercise to ensure that government received what was due to it through taxes.


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