Wednesday, November 4, 2015 10:17 pm
Governor Adams Oshiomhole is angry with some landlords and companies in the state who fail to pay their taxes. And he has put them on notice: his government is coming after them.
The decision to intensify the tax drive was among the issues decided at the cabinet meeting today.
At a briefing by information commissioner, Louis Odion, Governor Oshiomhole also thanked firms and individuals who have been paying taxes voluntarily. He thanked the landlords who have been paying the land use charge and Coca Cola for being a leader in being tax compliant.
According to Odion: “He has asked me to single out Coca-Cola Bottling Company for voluntary compliance. I think we need to put this in context. Our challenge as a government is mounting. Every day, our citizens want government to intervene, they want schools to be built, they want roads reconstructed but the truth is that our revenue is dwindling and without deepening the tax base, we won’t be able to deliver.
“So when we find corporate body and citizens who voluntarily comply by paying their taxes, we view them as partners in progress.
“We have also been directed to put on notice the CEOs of some companies, notably Banks who have refused to remit what is due to the government. I am speaking specifically with regards to some banks that have failed to remit withholding tax to the state government.”
The Chairman, Edo Internal Revenue Service, Chief Oseni Elamah said, “We have some organisations who have decided to play the role of not being responsible corporate citizens notable among these are those that have held back withholding taxes, specifically the banks, withholding taxes on interest due on fixed accounts of individuals that reside in Edo State.
“The sad aspect is that we have to go through the route of going through detailed tax audit to be able to discover their non-compliance and having established what they are owing, we made demands on them, but some of them have gone to the extent of even refusing to pay and resorting to all kinds of litigations against the state.
“I need to point out that there are two aspects to this issue of non-compliance. First is that it is a criminal offence for you not to remit taxes to states. It amounts to tax evasion and then, the amount involved must be recovered by the state. We have recovered some of these amounts from some of the banks, there are quite a few that have decided not to respond.
“The state government has authorized us to proceed with the criminal aspect and in the next few days, we are going to arraign the Chief Executives of these institutions in the law court for possible liabilities on tax invasion which is a criminal offence. It doesn’t matter whether they have remitted the amount which was discovered to be outstanding even they are still withholding such money.”