Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Babatunde Fowler, disclosed yesterday that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has an outstanding tax debt of over $300 million recorded by NNPC itself.
Fowler, told the Adhoc Committee investigating the FIRS` accounting procedures, that the agency will ensure proper assessment of the problem surrounding NNPC`s non-adherence to the payment of tax at the end of the audit exercise in June .
He went further to announce that Nigeria loses above $250 billion every year through tax evasion or underpayment, promising that the FIRS will step up their game in ensuring compliance to tax payment by firms, proper accounting of all revenue gotten and allocation of all revenue refunds.
“We are also deploying a system where all outstanding taxes owed by companies are recalled using automated platform. Right now, many companies, on the basis of that are doing self-assessment and have promised to remit all outstanding Value Added Tax (VAT) owed.
“One of the key things we did to ramp-up the revenue base when I was in Lagos, was to do a comprehensive audit, and I believe if we apply the same method, we will achieve the same result and even more. I know that those I met on ground did their best to enhance the process and we are currently building on what they put on ground,”
“We tend to believe that companies, especially multinationals would declare their figures properly, but organisations that deal with tax have estimated that well over $250 billion is lost every year in tax revenue from companies that file low revenues as returns.
“So, I think we just have to change our approach and assume that everyone is guilty until proven innocent when it comes to the issue of tax,”
Responding to the committee’s inquiry on why over charged companies have not been refunded their tax revenue, Fowler said that, the N7.5 billion released on 19th December, 2014, from the Committee’s investigation, have not been reimbursed due to certain criteria put in place for consideration and payment, in order to avoid paying an undeserving companies.
He however promised to look into the matter, with the assurance that such incident would not be repeated.