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FIRS raises alarm over tax racketeers in Ebonyi

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By Ruth Oginyi

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) in Ebonyi State has warned taxpayers in Abakaliki against tax racketeers who move round financial institutions to spy and deceive unsuspecting tax payers into their illegal business.

Mr Kenneth Effiong, tax controller, Abakaliki MTSO FIRS, in an interview pointed out that though,majority of taxpayers in the state are civil servants, 95% of them have been remitting their taxes into government coffers accordingly despite the challenges facing business transactions in the State as a result of Covid-19 lockdown and the recent #Endsars campaign.

Mr Effiong lamented that the advent of Coronavirus pandemic and the recent #Endsars campaign affected business activities heavily in the state noting that some business owners have closed down due to hardship but warned against touts who spy on the taxpayers to make their daily living.

He therefore urged the taxpayers to ensure that all payments are made directly to the federal government designated bank accounts.

He noted that earlier before now businesses were short down but are gradually picking up and expressed the hope that at the end of 2020 the tax agency will meet its targeted plans for the year.

” I want to tell the business men and women to work hard; they should not lose hope. Any where they have issues in their filling ,they should contact us. They should not deal with touts and they should pay their money into federal government account not to use anybody or give anybody in the bank money to pay. They should use all federal government designated banks to pay in their money and bring the teller to our office”, he said.

He further explained that the government has been up and doing in encouraging taxpayers through provision of palliatives to cushion the effects of the lockdown , as he expressed optimism that business activities would thrive in the State.

“You see a lot of businesses were not opening because of the lockdown. Some people that believe on the physical aspect of transaction were really affected because if they didn’t bring their goods they can not sell and if they bring, who will they sell it to but things have started picking up. We try to encourage the taxpayers, we try to sympathize with them. There were so many palliatives made by the government like extension of filling, extension of deadline for income tax and value added tax and waiver for interest on penalty. If you pay all your tax on time for those who were audited and for those that had LRP, so the government had a lot of palliatives for the taxpayers.

“Lockdown alone affected a lot of things and when things started picking up, End SARs came but we are encouraging them not to lose faith that things will come up.

“And you know we don’t have companies in Ebonyi. It is petty traders we have but we believe things will be normal”,he assured.

Effiong said despite the challenges, he would achieve for his office 100% target for the year.

“Ebonyi is 99% civil service state ,there is no company here and the one they call company like pharmaceutical company is a chemist in the village. We don’t have single company here. The quarries we have, their headquarters are outside Ebonyi so they pay tax outside Ebonyi tax.#

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