Tax Default: God is Good Motors Knocks FIRS, Demands Retraction

By Adedapo Adesanya

Nigeria’s leading transport franchise, God Is Good Motors (GIGM), has demanded the removal of its name from a published list of tax defaulters by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

The firm said it has fully paid documented tax liability as demanded by the services, wondering how it could have defaulted after meeting all obligations.

It claimed that no prior demand notices were served on the firm in any of its branches nationwide as required by Sections 32 (d) and 33(1) of the FIRS Establishment Act before publication of its name among defaulters.

In a nine-point rejoinder dated August 21 signed by Finance Director of GIGM, Mr Joseph Osanipin, the firm described FIRS’ action as “totally unacceptable, unprofessional and unethical.”

It said the embarrassing development was ”negatively affecting our mutual business dealings with both our foreign and local partners,” urging the FIRS to reverse it with immediate effect.

The rejoinder titled: “Unpleasant and unlawful publication of our company name as tax defaulters on print and social media” reads: “Sequel to your publication of names of tax defaulters on Public Media, amongst which our Company’s name was maliciously included, we respond thus:

“Our Company; God is Good Motors Nigeria Limited is a duly registered Company in Nigeria with full compliance with the requirements of all relevant Government Agencies one of which is the Federal Inland Revenue Service.

“That the above stated Account name with Zenith Bank GOD IS GOOD MOTORS (VEHICLE SALESS A/C) is not a different Company nor a subsidiary of our company stated above, rather it is the same company but with a modified account name for ease of reconciling our transactions.

“We registered our Business with the Federal Inland Revenue Service as far back as 2010 with a Taxpayer Identification Number: 09568000-0001, with all documented tax liability fully paid up as demanded by the service.

“FIRS has carried out series of Tax Audits on our Company with the latest being May, 2018 vide a letter from your same head office dated 18th April, 2018 and signed by the Director of Tax Audit Department which I suppose you could verify from your internal records.

“We find it totally unacceptable, unprofessional, and unethical the manner in which our account name above was published on public media.

“This is a malicious attempt at smearing the good name and brand we have struggled to build over the years without even a demand notice served on us as stipulated in the FIRS Establishment Act Section 32 (d)….” the Service shall serve a demand notice upon the company or person in whose name a tax is chargeable and if payment is not made within one month from the date of the-service of such demand notice, the Service may proceed to enforce payment under this Act”

“Also Section 33(1) of the FIRS Establishment Act also states:…” Without prejudice to any other power conferred on the Board for the enforcement of payment of tax due from a company, where an assessment has become final and conclusive and a demand notice has, in accordance with the provisions of the relevant tax laws tax in the First Schedule to this Act, been served upon the taxable person or upon the person in whose name the taxable person is chargeable, then, if payment of the tax is not made within the time limited by the demand notice, the Board may in the prescribed form, for the purpose of enforcing payment of the tax due”

“Both sections of the FIRS Establishment act stated above clearly states that a demand notice must be served on the intended taxpayer before enforcement procedures are carried out, hence we find it very embarrassing that no demand notices were served on us or any of our branches/outlets yet our name was published on public media as delinquent and defaulting taxpayers

“The FIRS should look into her records to confirm our points as stated in 1. – 8 above and update our records with your Agency to avoid any future embarrassment of this nature as our organization takes issues like this as topmost priority.

“A counter publication should be made to expunge our Company name from the list of tax defaulters as this is negatively affecting our mutual business dealings with both our foreign and local partners.”

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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