House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee investigating the Accounting Procedures of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, yesterday queried the agency over the decision to withhold tax refund due to some companies, who were victims of multiple taxation.
The committee wondered why, despite the N7.5 billion approved and released by the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation for that purpose, the FIRS was yet to reimburse the companies concerned.
Minister of Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, was also invited by the committee over Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s, NNPC, alleged refusal to pay tax.
Chairman of the committee, Michael Enyong (Akwa Ibom, PDP), raised the query as to why the FIRS would request and received the said amount only to sideline some companies who should have benefited from the refund.
He said: “In the case of tax refund, the N7.5 billion released on December 19, 2014, report arising from the committee’s investigation reveals that some of the said approved cases were not implemented as monies received were not paid to all those who were listed in the request.”
Responding, Chairman of the FIRS, Mr. Babatunde Fowler, said not all the monies were paid to those who made the request, as there were criteria used for consideration and payment to avoid paying an erring company.
Fowler, however, said he would have to look into the matter to see what exactly happened, adding that what happened came from the position of FIRS which trusted the returns made to
He promised that such would not be allowed to happen again as the service would ensure it knew exactly how much companies generate to determine how much of it was deducted as tax.
On NNPC’s non-compliance with the issue of tax return, the FIRS boss tied all unresolved matters to the conclusion of all ongoing audits.
He said: “On the taxable profits of companies, I cannot give any specific information regarding the amount until the audit report for last year is ready for assessment.”
Based on this, the committee summoned the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, to appear before it sometimes next week.
On why companies were involved in oil trading businesses in the country for over a decade without paying taxes, the FIRS boss told the committee that the information regarding that could only be got from the Customs Service which handles import and export duty collection.