Babatunde Fowler (Image courtesy: FIRS

The Executive Chairman of FIRS, Babatunde Fowler says N97.7bn has been recovered from tax defaulters’ bank accounts through charge ordered by the tax agency.

He made this known in Abuja on Wednesday, during the 49th Annual Accountant Conference of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN).

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Concise News learned that in a presentation titled “FIRS power of substitution: Critical review and matters arising”, he insisted that despite criticisms of the practice, he would do whatever he could to boost tax collections.

According to him, FIRS took such a harsh stance only after the failure of the tax amnesty programme called Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS).

He added that through the substitution exercises, FIRS increased tax revenue collection through a special tax audit, VAIDs, special investigation and the banking turnover initiatives.

He also said that so far, 3,976 out of 44,293 non-compliant companies, had paid about N97.7bn.

Giving a breakdown of the money recovered, Fowler said that, through the banking turnover exercise, the Service recovered N88.59bn after reaching an agreement with 3,797 out of 42,736 companies.

In addition to that, he said that 74 out of 406 companies have paid about N4bn under the special tax audit substitution exercise.

Fowler further said that the FIRS realised N3.84bn after reaching an agreement with 79 out of 800 companies under the VAIDs substitution exercise.

He said that through the special investigation substitution exercise, 47 out of 351 companies have paid N2.06bn.

The FIRS boss cautioned banks against sabotaging his order to restrict access to specific bank accounts.

He said, “As at today there are a total of 23,141 tax defaulters who are yet to come forward to clear their outstanding liabilities of about N254bn.

“FIRS in collaboration with the banks have started engaging in compliance measures with regards to the tax defaulters and their accounts.

“Failure to carry out this directive will result in the banks being sanctioned according to Section 31 subsection 1-3 and 32 respectively of FIRS Act 2007,″ adding that sanctions involve immediate delisting of such banks from FIRS collection list.