The Federal Government of Nigeria has mandated all ministries, departments and agencies of government (MDAs) as well as the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to authenticate all tax clearance certificates (TCCs) presented by companies and individuals engaged in public procurement processes before making payments.
The directive is in response to the proliferation of forged TCCs purportedly issued prior to the automation of the certificates from 22nd August, 2017.
The validation of the TCCs will enhance the integrity of the tax system, says Kemi Adeosun, Nigeria’s minister of finance.
In a circular issued Tuesday, June 19, Adeosun specifically required the MDAs to authenticate all TCCs prior to making any payment, adding that electronic TCCS (e-TCCs) can be verified via logging into https//tcc.firs.gov.ng and taking some prompted steps.
For TCCs issued before 22nd August 2017, the circular advised the MDAs and other stakeholders to forward a list of the companies and photocopies of the TCCs to the office of the executive chairman, FIRS for authentication. The FIRS has undertaken to verify the TCCs within 72 hours of receipt.
The minister reminded company directors that possession of fake TCCs is an offense, and that the now outdated manual system allowed production of forged TCCs.
“Companies and individuals in doubt as to the authenticity of their TCCs are advised to take advantage of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) to regularize,” the statement read.
Adeosun added that the Federal Ministry of Finance and the FIRS will continue to work in partnership with government at all levels and stakeholders towards eradicating tax fraud and evasion.
The federal government had in January 2018 directed vendors of MDAs to display their tax identification numbers (TINs) on their invoices before payments are effected. The non-presentation of a TIN by the vendors, according to the ministry of finance, largely contributed to leakages in revenue remittances, particularly value added tax (VAT) and withholding tax (WHT).