The Federal government of Nigeria recently announced a 30-day ultimatum to high profile companies who are allegedly owing taxes. As stated by FIRS, non-compliance within the stipulated period may lead to recovering the tax liabilities from directors, managers, secretaries and other management staff of such companies.
Meanwhile, as the 30-day window deadline to regularise the tax status of high profile tax defaulters approaches, some firms can still upturn the move in court, it has been disclosed.
The clarification was made by Mr. Olufemi Daniel, Desk Officer of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) while speaking at an interactive session on Nigeria’s data protection Regime in Lagos.
The details: While speaking to Nairametrics on the sideline of the event, Mr. Olufemi disclosed that firms whose names were recently published by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) as tax defaulters can approach the court.
While commenting on whether the FIRS move to publish tax defaulters’ name was not tantamount to a data breach, Mr. Olufemi stated that publishing names of firms who allegedly defaulted tax may not be entirely regarded as a data breach, what is of utmost importance is whether a firm has defaulted or not.
According to him, if a firm knows its name was unduly listed by FIRS, then the firm should immediately approach the court to halt or upturn the claims.
Speaking on the newly revised Nigeria Data Protection Regulation 2019 (NDPR), Mr. Olufemi stated this is targeted at safeguarding data privacy, foster safe conduct of transactions involving personal data and to make Nigerian institutions globally competitive and relevant.
The Back-story: Recently, the FIRS has embarked on several moves targetted at the building of its tax revenue collection. The moves involved the recent ‘naming and shaming’ of 19,901 tax defaulters and their bankers.
- While experts were asking important questions of law about the FIRS justification for the publication, the revenue agency has also given companies a 30-day ultimatum to regularise their tax status and pay the tax due.
- As part of reactions that trailed the announcement, a leading vehicle transporter, God is Good Motors (GIGM) asked that its name be removed from the list of tax defaulters. In a rejoinder, the firm stated that it had fully paid its documented tax liability as demanded by FIRS.
In the meantime, experts have disclosed that while the law provisions empower FIRS to recover taxes on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, none allows it to publish names of defaulters as a punitive measure.