Illegal tax collectors invade Abia State but BIR counters

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Illegal tax collectors are said to have invaded Abia State.

Now, the Abia State Board of Internal Revenue (BIR), says it arrested 60 illegal tax collectors in the State, between January, 2020 to August, 2020, as it moves to restore confidence among tax payers.

This is in addition to 80 illegal tax collectors arrested in August, 2019 to December, 2019 of which about 60 were prosecuted and imprisoned, Celestine Agbara, acting chairman, BIR, Abia State, stated.

Agabara, while addressing the Aba business community, at a business forum, held at the secretariat of the Aba Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ACCIMA) explained that the BIR was   more active in arresting and prosecuting illegal tax collectors in 2019, which reduced their activities that period.

He also announced plans of the BIR to start prosecution of companies and individuals, who evade payment of tax.

He stated that the era when taxpayers deliberately misrepresent the true state of their affairs to the BIR to reduce their tax liabilities or even fail to present any assessment at all, are over.

“Self filling of assessment has become a problem for individuals and companies here. There’s no assessment from the beginning of the year to the end that will enable us determine what tax to pay.

“We will start taking people to court for tax related offences from October,” he stated.

He observed that illegal tax collectors are thriving, because people patronize them.

“Illegal tax collectors exist, because you patronize them. If you insist in doing the right thing, they’ll not approach you.

He stated that Government is not interested in impoverishing citizens, but noted that anyone arrested in stealing government revenue must be made to return the stolen funds.

According to him, “We are not interested in keeping such people perpetually in prison. The moment we recover government money, we will leave them”.

He advised Aba business operators and other residents to verify the authenticity of revenue demand notices sent to them, from any tax office close to them, stressing that illegal tax and revenue collectors distort genuine tax collection.

“We have arrested over 60 illegal collectors this year alone and we will continue.

In addition, Agbara warned entrepreneurs in Abia to desist from engaging agents in filing their taxes, noting that some of these agents also defraud their clients.

“Approach tax offices and establish relationship with tax officers, by so doing, you’ll know the right tax to pay”, he advised.

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