The Plateau State Revenue Task Force on Wednesday pledged to prosecute and sanction any tax defaulter including corporate bodies, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in the state.
The task force Chairman, Mrs Tamwakat Weli, gave the warning in Jos.“In fact, as a state government, we are not happy with our present IGR; this informed the formation of this task force aimed at raising the IGR to an impressive level for the benefit of our citizens, ’’ she said.
Weli, who is the State Commissioner for Finance, said the committee, recently inaugurated by Gov. Simon Lalong, would no longer tolerate a situation whereby tax payers deliberately refused to come forward to pay tax to the government for social needs of the citizens.
Speaking through the chairman of the state Internal Revenue Service (PSIRS), MrDasheArlat, who is a member of the committee, Johnson disclosed that 7 courts had been assigned for prosecution of defaulters across the state.
“Thanks to the State Chief Judge (CJ), who has allocated two magistrates’ courts to us in each of our Senatorial Districts and a High Court in Jos for the prosecution of high profile tax defaulters in the State.
“We have allocated a Conference Hall here in the Revenue House for the High court Judge to sit over cases in respect to tax issues on any day of the week, ’’ the chairman explained.
She explained that magistrate Courts in Shendam and Langtang North local areas would serve the southern zone; Mangu and Pankshin Magistrates’ Courts for the Central Zone while the Bukuru and West of Mines Magistrates’ Courts and the High Court would serve the Northern Zone.
The task force chairman also said that the prosecution would not exclude MDAs which failed to key into the state’s Treasury Single Account (TSA).
She said: “Already, we have begun scrutinising and auditing all the MDAs to detect those of them who have been defaulting in paying into the TSA as directed by our governor years ago.’’
Weli decried cash collection by recalcitrant MDAs and that revenue officers attached to the PSIRS consultants had been deployed to such MDAs to key them into electronic collection system through issuance of Tax Identification Numbers (TIN).
According to her, some of the MDAs were responsible for some of leakages in tax collections in the state and warned, “enough is enough of such unholy and unproductive attitude’’.
The chairman also disclosed that the Police and NCDSC, who were part of the task force, would effect arrest of any recalcitrant defaulter, no matter how highly placed in the society.
She also warned corporate organisations and federal MDAs to cooperate with the task force and equally response positively to their civic responsibility of paying their taxes when due, to avoid the wrath of the task force.
Terms of reference of the task force include monitoring revenue collections by all MDAs and ensuring lodgment of same into consolidated TSA.
The committee will also identify defaulters for prosecution in accordance with civil service rules. Others include identifying areas of leakages of revenue collections and making monthly report on performances of MDAs and carrying out functions that will boost the state’s revenue.