FIRS to Curb Tax Evasion



THE Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, is putting a mechanism in place to curb tax evasion in the country in order to boost the revenue of government. This mechanism, it said, would plug every loophole and put an end to the problem of dwindling revenue, especially as the cost of crude oil has fallen more than 50 per cent in the past seven months.

Peter Olayemi, director, medium tax department, FIRS, said  at a programme organised by Community Action for Popular Participation, CAPP, in collaboration with Christian Aid Nigeria in Abuja, that the initiative as a welcome development. “We are trying to ensure that every person that is supposed to pay tax is actually brought to the tax net. We can only do that through sensitisation, through the use of technology to bring as many people as possible into the tax net,” he said.

Until very recently, most of the activities of FIRS are manually based. “We are now computerising our system. There is integration of tax system that FIRS is implementing. By the time, the system is fully operational, it will assist the service to reach as many tax payers as possible,” he said.

The director revealed that FIRS was presently working with the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, to know all the companies on its register in order to bring all of them to the tax net. Olayemi noted that most countries put in place systems to curb tax evasion and treat any case of tax evasion as a criminal one, but expressed regret that in Nigeria, tax evasion is being treated as a civil offence. He, however, stated that government was trying to take an holistic review on the tax system in the country. “The 2011 Taxation Amendment Act has ensured that the president and the governors are now paying tax from their official emoluments. We are making progress.”

He explained further that presumptive tax is the charge on income tax of individuals or body of individuals and also ensures that individual keeps records of activities. He advised that to ensure equity and justice in the administration of tax, there must be documentary record of activities of tax payers.

On her part, Kyauta Giwa, executive director, CAPP, said the programme was organised because people were being made to pay different kind of levies, without really knowing what the taxes are meant for and they are not asking questions. She said there was therefore the need to execute a short project on what the tax payers are supposed to pay to the area council as levies, so that they could complain if they were wrongly taxed.

NSE Extends Deadline for Companies to Pay Listing Fees


THE Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, has given listed companies a two-month grace to pay their 2015 listing fees, adding that any of the companies that makes late payment will pay 50 percent of its listing fee as penalty. Going by the provisions of Sections 27.2.1 and 27.2.2 of the amended Listing Rules of the NSE, the annual listing fees for 2015 were due for payment not later than January 31.

However, in a notification to the companies on Monday, February 2, the NSE said it would not impose any penalties on companies that have not paid their fees for 2015. Rather it gave the company two months grace to pay the fees. Although no reason was given by the exchange for the grace period, it could not be unconnected with the prevailing economic situation where companies are battling with high operating cost and low business activities.

The notification letter reads: “Please be informed that pursuant to Sections 27.2.1 and 27.2.2 of the Amended Listing Rules (effective date November 2014), the annual listing fees for 2015 were due for payment not later than January 31, 2015. You are hereby informed that between February and March 31, 2015, the exchange will not impose any penalties on listed companies that have not paid their annual listing fees. Thus, listed companies have two months of grace to pay the annual listing fees for 2015,” the NSE explained in notification.

It, however, warned that where a listed company fails to pay after April 1, 2015, there would be penalty of 50 percent of the listing fees as a penalty for late payment as required by the provisions of amended rules.

Companies listed on the Alternative Securities Market pay annual listing fee of N200, 000. On the other hand, the listing fees requirements for the companies on the main board vary, depending on capitalisation of each company.

— Feb. 16, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT