By Dikachi Franklin, in Owerri
… IIRS chairman happy over compliance
… ISHA wants dissidents prosecuted
Members of the Imo State Hoteliers Association (ISHA) have begun to comply with the Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant Consumption (HORC) tax law, investigations by business a.m. has revealed.
This law has therefore, raised by five percent, prices of goods and perhaps some services rendered by hotels, event centres and restaurants in the state.
In this law also, daily records of tax shall be kept and remitted by the company, partnership or individual to the state’s designated revenue account on or before the 20th day of the month next following the month for which the tax is due.
Some of the taxable items include beer, wine, liquor and spirits, cigarettes, tobacco, jewels and jewelries, perfumes cosmetics etc.
Nze Charles Onwunali, the chairman of the Imo State Internal Revenue Service (IIRS), has commended the Imo State Hoteliers Association for complying with the tax law, saying, also that most hotels, bars, restaurants, event centers have started implementing the steps towards compliance.
Onwunali informed that he took his time to visit some of them, during the Christmas and New Year seasons to monitor the extent of compliance with the tax law and was happy with the level of their readiness toward full compliance.
The bill for the law was drafted towards the end of the Imo House of Assembly when Rochas Okorocha was the governor of the state but was signed into law on December, 2019 by the immediate past governor, Emeka Ihedioha.
Onwunali said that all filing of returns should be on or before January 20, 2020 and that failure attract sanctions. He went further to add that failure to remit the tax collected within the stipulated time would attract five percent interest in addition to the prevailng Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) minimum discount rate while the penalty for non remittance of the tax collected within the said time attracts sever sanctions.
He said any director, manager, agent, employee of the collecting agent who fails to comply with the provisions of the law would be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a penalty of six months imprisonment or a fine of N2 million or both.
Meanwhile, Chima Chukwunyere, the chairman of the Imo State Hoteliers Association, has said “you will agree with me that in one of the interviews I granted to this paper, I said that the hotel industry will be willing to work with the government that we will support, we will do everything that will be required of us to assist the governor to succeed”.
Chukwunyere expressed his happiness that his members have complied with the law and “that is to tell you how responsible we are and that tells you the kind of leadership we have in the Imo hotel industrial sector”. Adding that apart from the state government the hotel industry is the biggest employer of labour.
Hear him “ but if there is any hotel that has refused to comply, the law will take its course because I believe that what Nze Onwunali and his people will do is to go after those people that have refused to pay the tax, that is clear sabortage.
“You want to enjoy certain amenities in the State, you want to enjoy certain infrastructures, you are already enjoying good roads, you can see that there is a lot of improvement on the roads and you do not want to pay the tax.
“I have also reminded our members that anybody who has not paid should go and do so. And I clearly stated the Association will not support, will not rescue, will not assist any body in any way, we will not engage in any battle because you have refused to pay”.
He how ever, said “those who have not paid are not part of the Association and the IIRS should discipline defaulters because they are rebellious “.