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FIRS warns government agencies over contracting collection of taxes to consultants

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THE Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has warned Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government (MDAs) over the appointment of consultants and concessionaires to collect taxes due to the Federal Government.

FIRS warned such agencies while insisting it is only the agency of government saddled with the responsibility of tax collection.

In a Public Notice issued September 22, and signed by its Executive Chairman, Muhammad Nami, the agency accused some MDAs of including functions of assessment, collection, accounting and enforcement of taxes and levies in their agreements with concessionaires and consultants.

The notice read: “It has come to the notice of the Federal Inland Revenue Service that some Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government (MDAs) are appointing concessionaires or consultants for the assessment, collection, accounting or enforcement of taxes and levies due to the Federal Government or any of its agencies.

“Some MDAs include such functions in their agreements with concessionaires or consultants,” the Public Notice read.

Citing Section 68(2) of its Establishment Act, the FIRS highlighted that by law it is “the primary agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria responsible for the administration, assessment, collection, accounting and enforcement of taxes and levies due to the Federal Government or any of its agencies, except as may be authorised by the Minister responsible for Finance by regulation as approved by the National assembly”.

The Notice also stated that while Section 12(4) of the FIRS Establishment Act has provided that the Service may engage consultants, accountants or other agents to carry out certain functions on its behalf, the law has expressly prohibited the carrying out of assessing and collecting tax by consultants.

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“The Service may appoint and employ such consultants, including tax consultants or accountants and agents to transact any business or to do any act required to be transacted or done in the execution of its functions under this act; provided that such consultants shall not carry out duties of assessing and collecting tax or routine responsibilities of tax officials”.

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Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.

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