John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Kaduna State Internal Revenue Service (KDIRS) on Wednesday sealed off three branches of Access Bank within the metropolis over non-remittance of over N175 million pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) and withholding taxes.
In an interview with newsmen after the exercise, the Legal Adviser to KDIRS, Mr Francis Kozah, said the branches of the bank, which are located along Bida Road, Ahmadu Bello Way and Isa Kaita Road would remain closed till the bank pays all tax liabilities to the state government.
Kozah said a tax audit from 2011 to 2016 was carried out and it was discovered that the bank had not been remitting PAYE.
“We conducted a tax audit from 2011 to 2016, which revealed that Access Bank has not been remitting PAYE and withholding taxes.
“We are able to establish an unremitting liability of PAYE and withholding taxes of over N175 million within the period.
“KDIRS communicated to Access Bank the findings, made demand for payment and held several meetings with the management of the bank, but the bank refused to pay.
“We are left with no other option but to approach the court for a warrant to restrain the bank, and the court granted the order to seal off all the branches in the state,” he said.
Kozah, who warned all corporate entities, including professional bodies operating in the state to settle all tax-related issues with the state government, said the three branches of the bank would remain closed until the management of the bank do the needful.
“We are going to be fair to all taxpayers, but we will remain firm and decisive in ensuring that all taxpayers pay what is due to the state government,” he said.
Also speaking, KADIRS Head of Enforcement, Ado Garba, said the revenue agency was currently finalising tax audit of some corporate entities, including individuals.
He said KADIRS will go after anyone, banks, companies, professional bodies and other businesses found withholding tax.
He said however that the agency was open to negotiations with the bank, but maintained that the branches will only be opened if the management settles the tax liabilities, including N250,000 cost incurred in sealing the branches.
He warned that the agency would seal off any business establishment and corporate organisation that were not willing to pay taxes to the state.