Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The federal government has directed all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to authenticate all Tax Clearance Certificates (TCCs) presented by companies and individuals engaged in public procurement processes.
The Ministry of Finance said in a statement that the directive was in response to the proliferation of forged TCCs purportedly issued prior to the automation of the certificates on August 22, 2017.
The statement, which was issued by the Special Adviser, Media & Communications to the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, Mr. Oluyinka Akintunde, said the validation of the TCCs would enhance the integrity of the tax system.
According to the statement, a circular issued yesterday by Adeosun, requires the MDAs to authenticate all TCCs prior to making any payment.
For TCCs issued before August 22, 2017, the circular advised the MDAs and other stakeholders to forward a list of the companies and photocopies of the TCCs to the office of the Executive Chairman, FIRS for authentication.
â€œThe FIRS has undertaken to verify the TCCsÂ within 72 hoursÂ of receipt.
â€œThe minister reminds company directors that possession is an offence. The now outdated manual system allowed production of forged TCCs.
â€œCompanies and individuals in doubt as to the authenticity of their TCCs are advised to take advantage of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) to regularise,â€ the circular was cited as saying.
Adeosun added that the â€œFederal Ministry of Finance and the FIRS will continue to work in partnership with government at all levels and stakeholders towards eradicating tax fraud and evasion.â€
The federal government had in January 2018, directed vendors of MDAs to display their Tax Identification Numbers (TINs) on their invoices before payments are effected.
The non-presentation of a TIN by the vendors largely contributed to leakages in revenue remittances, particularly Value Added Tax (VAT) and Withholding Tax (WHT), the statement added.