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FIRS Arrests 8 Abuja Hotel Managers Over Tax Remittances

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For failing to register as taxpayers, not filing annual returns as mandated by law and for failing to remit Personal Income Tax and Value Added Tax, VAT deductions from their customers, nine Abuja hotel managers were on Monday, held and quizzed by

 officials of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

The FIRS Enforcement Team from the Federal Capital Territory, FCT Special Tax Office, STO, led by Mr. Peter Olayemi, a Deputy Director, made the arrests following repeated written requests and visits that the hotels should comply with the provisions of the law.

During the enforcement exercise, the management of La Don Hotel in Jabi, failed to provide evidences of registration as a taxpayer, VAT remittance or any evidence of CIT, PIT remittances to the FIRS after the hotel commenced operations.

Olayemi revealed that the FIRS team had written the Management of La Don Hotel thrice to state the hotel's obligations under the law, with no response or compliance.

'Thrice FIRS wrote the hotel and several others: on 10th August 2011 received by La Don's Idara O; second Letter of 27thSeptember 2011, received by Ike I. E. and FIRS l.E, received by Joseph Ademola. A staff retrieved and displayed - from the hotel- copies of Tax Registration forms (Tax Envelope), which the FIRS had delivered to the hotel', he said.

Mr. Ikechukwu Emmanuel, La Don's Operation's Manager failed provide required documents relating to the Hotel's tax status but claimed that a letter from the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, NIPC granted it a tax holiday.

Meanwhile, documents bearing the hotel's lodgement records, receipts and a computer were later taken to the FIRS Enforcement Office in Wuse for further investigation.

The Enforcement Teams also visited about 10 other hotels in Kubwa, which include Jiepee Guest House, New England and White Safari Guest House, Arsenal Guest Hotel, Cupid Suites and Restaurant, Adona Hotel, Gayyata Hotel, J. P. Guest House, Medley ACC Restaurant, Countryside Guest Inn and Muflak Guest Inn.

A statement by Emmanuel Obeta, Director, Corporate Communications Department has also revealed that some of the hotels were registered as far back as 2003, 2005 and 2007, but had not registered as taxpayers nor have they started remitting VAT- which they have started charging from their customers.

'Under Section 41 (a) and (b) of the Companies Income Tax Act 2004, Section 8 of the Value Added Tax Act 102 of 1993 and CAP C21, LFN 2004, Companies Income Tax Act CAP C21 LFN 2004, Education Tax Act CAP E4 LFN 2004, all companies registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, and operating as businesses are expected to register as taxpayers and file (submit) tax returns.

'Section 33 and 36 of the Federal Inland Revenue Establishment Act, 2007, empower the FIRS to enforce compliance with tax laws at the expiration of notifications and deadlines without further recourse to such companies/ institutions.'