FIRS to beam searchlight on aviation, maritime operators over tax evasion


Aniola Seun

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has stated that it will commence back-end tax audit on operators in the maritime and aviation industries.

Its chairman, Muhammad Nami, disclosed this over the weekend while delivering an address at the Pedabo Thought Leadership Breakfast Session, focused on tax issues and the impact on development in the maritime and aviation industry, held in Lagos State.

“The FIRS will soon launch a tax audit exercise on operators in the maritime and aviation industries.” he stated, according to a statement that was issued by the agency.
Nami added that “Back-end pre-audit activities, in collaboration with regulatory authorities in the industries, are at advanced stages.”
The FIRS chairman called on foreign players in these industries, who had lifted cargoes out of Nigeria without paying taxes to voluntarily come forward and regularise their tax standing.
“Let me use this opportunity to invite all foreign companies that have lifted cargoes (including crude oil) out of Nigeria without paying tax in line with extant law to voluntarily come forward to regularise their tax positions.  Those who would wait for FIRS’ audit before doing the right thing may find the taste very unsavoury.” he threatened.

Nami lamented that as important as the maritime and aviation industries are to the economic development of Nigeria, they were not yielding the expected revenue to the Federation’s purse.

Blaming the poor revenue turn out on many factors, he stated that a major reason for the poor yield was the failure of foreign companies lifting cargoes to pay tax.

“The low tax revenue performance of the two industries can be attributed to many factors, chief of which is the failure of foreign companies lifting cargoes (particularly, crude oil) to pay tax.

“This is contrary to the provisions of the extant tax laws.  The revenue leakage from these non-compliant companies is very huge.

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