Bench warrants have been issued and carried out against key executives of certain companies.
According to Mr. Seyi Alade, the Director of Legal Services at LIRS, who revealed this in an exclusive interview, the agency intends to broaden the scope of the enforcement operation to encompass all companies and individuals in the state who have failed to meet their tax obligations.
He said, “Bench warrants were issued and recently executed against principal officers of some companies for failing to file their annual returns and respond to the criminal summons issued against them by the courts for the past two years.
“These companies include Sycamore Consulting Limited; Planoplex Limited; Red Offshore Shipbrokers Nigeria Limited; Gmunu Limited; and Lotus Fitness and Health Limited.
“This enforcement exercise is a continuous process, it shall be visited on all erring companies and individuals in the state who fail to honour court summons for their failure to file the statutory annual tax returns.”
According to him, by virtue of Section 417 & 822 of Companies and Allied matters Act 2020, every company limited by shares, company limited by guarantee and business name shall once at least in every year make and deliver to the necessary authorities an annual return in form stated by the tax authorities not later that 31st January of every year.
On the penalties for employers that fail to comply with the annual tax return filing requirement, Alade said that Section 81 (3) of the Personal Income Tax (Amendment) Act 2011 posits that any employer that fails to fulfill this obligation is liable on conviction to penalty of N50,000 and N500,000 for individuals and corporate, respectively.
“By virtue of Section 96 of the Personal Income Tax (Amendment) Act 2011, A person who for the purpose of obtaining a deduction, set off, relief or an overpayment in respect of tax for himself or any other person, or who in a return, account or particulars made or furnished with reference to tax, knowingly makes a false statement or false representation: or aids, abets, assists, counsels, incites or induces any other person-to make or deliver a false return or statement under this Act or to keep or prepare false accounts or particulars concerning any income on which tax is payable under this Act; or unlawfully refuses or neglects to pay tax is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine of N50,000 for individuals and N500,000 for corporate bodies or to imprisonment for not more than six months,” he stated.