Tax evasion: Lagos threatens to shut banks, firms

The Lagos State Government yesterday threatened to commence shutting down the corporate headquarters of banks and other firms who have failed to remit statutory taxes. The state government accused some banks of withholding taxes on bank interest for more than 10 years. The government, which said it would begin the closure of such bank headquarters from Monday, November 20, also warned that any company found to have evaded tax would not be spared. It added that it is in the interest of defaulting companies and their management to remit the statutory taxes to the state within the grace period to avoid embarrassment to them and their shareholders.

The government, in a statement signed by the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Akinyemi Ashade, said that government would not hesitate to resort to all lawful means to ensure compliance with statutory tax remittances. Ashade said: “All law abiding corporate organisations are advised to adhere to this directive as the state government has given enough grace period for them to remit their taxes.

The government will, on Monday, November 20, commence the process of shutting down the headquarters of corporate organisations, including banks that have failed to remit statutory taxes to government coffers. It is in the interest of companies who are yet to remit their taxes to do so, on or before Monday. “Prompt payment of tax will enable the government to provide the necessary infrastructure and improve the standard of living of the people. When people pay their taxes promptly, government is encouraged to do more.

The administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has shown in the last two and half years that taxes paid are judiciously spent on projects that have impacted positively on the lives of Lagos citizens.” It would be recalled that the state government had, last week, directed all its revenue agencies to ensure prompt payment of taxes including land use charges and also commence enforcement of payment by all tax defaulters with immediate effect.

The government had lamented that many residents were not fulfilling their civic obligation of paying their taxes and that the prevailing situation would adversely affect government’s infrastructural renewal drive currently ongoing across the state, thus necessitating the decision to go all out to recover unremitted taxes.

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