Senate Queries FIRS over Unremitted N1.4bn Tax, VAT Deductions

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Deji Elumoye in Abuja

The Senate has issued two queries to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) over its failure to remit N1.4 billion withholding tax and Value Added Tax (VAT) deducted from 33 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in 2015.

Its committee on Public Accounts, headed by Senator Mathew Urhoghide, issued the queries to the Executive Chairman of FIRS, Mr. Mamman Nami, who confirmed that the deductions were yet to be remitted.

The first query read in part: “N700.2 million Withholding Tax (WHT), which were deducted from 33 government MDAs, were not remitted to FIRS. This negates the provision of Financial Regulation 234 (III), which stipulates that officers who fail to provide for remit VAT and WHT due on vatable supplies and services shall be sanctioned under the applicable VAT Act No. 102 of 1993 which may include fine and/or imprisonment.

“The Executive Chairman has been requested that the unremitted WHT of N700.2 million be deducted at source from budgetary allocations of the affected MDAs in line with section 24 of FIRS Act of 2007 empowering the Accountant-General of the Federation to make such deduction to the service.”

In its response, FIRS confirmed that the deductions had not been remitted.
It said: “The total amount of N700.2 million Withholding Tax was deducted by 33 government MDAs but had not been remitted to the FIRS. Efforts are still being made by the service and the Debt Management Office (DMO) to advise the Accountant-General of the Federation to deduct at the source from budgetary allocations of the affected MDAs in line with the provisions of section 24 of FIRS Act of 2007.”
The second query read: “N708.5 million of Value Added Tax was deducted from 31 government MDAs but was not remitted to FIRS.”

Responding, FIRS said plans were underway to deduct the VAT from budgetary allocations of the MDAs.
FIRS, in its response, said: “Efforts are still being made by the service and Debt Management Office (DMO) to deduct at source from budgetary allocations of the affected MDAs in line with the provisions of section 24 of FIRS Act of 2007.”
The Senate committee is expected to meet soon to take a stand on the reply of the FIRS to the two queries and make recommendations to the Senate.