FIRS Extends Waiver Deadline on Interests, Penalties Payment


James Emejo in Abuja

Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has extended the deadline set to waive interests accruable to debts as well as the related penalties for defaulting taxpayers if they fully settle their indebtedness on or before May 31.

Defaulters now have till June 30 to liquidate outstanding liabilities in order to enjoy a waiver on accumulated penalties and interests.
FIRS Executive Chairman, Mr. Muhammad Nami, in a statement yesterday posted on Twitter, said the extension was part of palliative measures provided to taxpayers in order to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses and the economy.

Nami urged taxpayers “having outstanding tax liabilities arising from self-assessment filing, tax audit, tax investigation, and tax review assessments as well as approved installment payment plans under VAIDS that have not been complied with or are partially complied with, to take advantage of the new window to avoid a situation whereby earlier approved incentives will be withdrawn by the service.”

FIRS chairman had earlier announced the decision to waive accumulated penalties and interests for tax defaulters.
He had also directed businesses to commence payment of their annual returns earlier than the due date, apart from their normal monthly obligations.
The moves are part of FIRS’ efforts to mobilise resources for the federal government whose fiscal power has been badly impaired by the drastic fall in global oil prices occasioned by the outbreak and spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

FIRS has also announced the resumption of audit, investigations, and monitoring exercises, earlier suspended as part of measures to cushion the impact of the pandemic.

Nami, in a separate statement, said the resumption was necessitated by current economic realities, which require concerted efforts towards assisting the federal government to mobilise the much-needed revenue for national development.

He said while there would be an immediate continuation of reconciliation of findings/liabilities arising as a result of desk reviews, monitoring visits, tax audit and investigation, field visits would resume from June 30.

FIRS also warned that effective immediately, it would apply sanctions in line with extant laws against any company operating in the country which fails to keep records as well as report all its transactions for purposes in English language.

“Compliance with this directive will enable the service to perform its statutory functions effectively without any impediment resulting from the language barrier. It is also an opportunity for the affected taxpayers to be transparent in their record-keeping and reporting,” Nami said.